“Why That Gift?,” Ensign, Dec. 1999
Every Christmas, in celebration of the Savior’s birth, our family selects an individual or family to surprise with anonymous gifts. A few years ago we chose a family in our ward with three little children. We knew they were struggling financially, so we decided to buy them a few small toys, and groceries for Christmas dinner, and leave it on their doorstep. However, each time I went shopping for those things, I felt troubled. When my husband asked me one night why I hadn’t bought the gifts, I shrugged and told him I didn’t know, that I just didn’t feel good about it.
One afternoon a week before Christmas as I was driving past our bank, I was impressed to get a $100 bill. I immediately went into the bank to get one. When my husband came home from work that night, I told him what I’d done. Naturally, he wanted to know what we were supposed to do with it, but I didn’t know.
Later that evening as we were eating dinner, I suddenly felt the money should go to the home of the family we had chosen to surprise with Christmas gifts. I asked my son to go with me to deliver the money. We left it in an envelope on their doorstep, rang the doorbell, and ran. We heard nothing about it in the ensuing days and soon forgot about it.
A year passed, during which the family moved away. Then, just before Christmas, the family visited our ward, and the sister stood to bear her testimony in Relief Society. She had a strong testimony of tithing, she said, and went on to explain that one night about a year ago, a week before Christmas, she and her husband had gone to tithing settlement, where they discovered they were $100 short. To be full-tithe payers, they would need to pay it that night. She and her husband looked at each other in dismay. The only money they had was $100 they had worked hard to save for a Christmas celebration with their children. Since it was the only money they could spare, they gave it to the bishop.
Through tears, the sister related that they had gone from tithing settlement to home, only to find an envelope with a $100 bill in it on their doorstep. Her heart overflowed then with gratitude toward an understanding Heavenly Father. It was a Christmas she said she would never forget, and the gift she received that year was one that would stay with her always.