Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

Jerry O. Thompson, “A Christmas to Remember,” Ensign, Dec. 2007, 62–63

My wife and I had been married less than two years; we were caring for a newborn; and, like typical struggling student families, we were stretching our finances trying to make ends meet.

Graduation was still a few years away, and we were trying to make the best of the Christmas season. I had several part-time jobs, and my wife, Lisa, was working as a secretary. We didn’t have a lot of extras, but we were happy.

A few months before Christmas, I was still getting to know the families I was recently assigned to home teach. One family in particular stood out because of the adversity they had recently faced. Two of their children had died in an accident from which the father was still recuperating, and the mother suffered from a crippling illness that had left her physically impaired. Despite these challenges, this family had a great spirit about them, and they set an example by the way they followed the commandments.

During my home teaching visit in December, I saw that they did not have a Christmas tree. My heart sank for their children. Knowing of their physical, spiritual, and financial struggles, my wife and I decided to do something for them.

We had saved enough money to buy a Christmas tree, so we decided to go out on Christmas Eve, buy the biggest tree we could afford, gift wrap it, and anonymously leave it at this family’s home. Fortunately, no one was home as we dropped off the tree. As we drove home afterward, we anticipated the joy they would feel upon returning home and finding the tree waiting for them. This small sacrifice added a spirit of peace and joy to our holiday that I had not felt before.

When we arrived at our apartment, we had our own surprise waiting for us on the doorstep: a beautifully decorated Christmas tree! My wife wept as she beheld this anonymous gift of love given to us in our financial need.

We later found out that this gift was given to us by the same family to whom we had given our tree. Even in their dark hour, this family had sought to bless others. Our hearts were filled with the true spirit of Christmas that year. It was a Christmas we will never forget.

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