“Open the Card First,” Ensign, Dec. 2004, 61
When we’re young, sometimes all we think about at Christmastime is what we are going to receive. In 1991, I received the best gift of all.
The previous year I had decided to serve a mission, because my mother and several other relatives had set an example for me. So I left the university after my 18th birthday and worked at a fire station for a year to save money and help relieve my family of the financial burden of supporting me on my mission.
I finally sent my papers in, certain that by 1 December I would be leaving to serve the Lord. When the first two weeks of December passed, I became more anxious to receive a reply than to get any Christmas gift. But no letter came. I thought perhaps the Lord didn’t love me or maybe my worthiness was in question; I had all kinds of discouraging thoughts.
On Christmas Eve I left early in the morning to play handball with my brother at a club near our house. When I got home, I noticed several Christmas cards hanging on the tree, including a very large card wrapped in gift paper. It had my name on it. I wanted to open it, but my mother said it would be better to wait until evening when our family had gathered.
After dinner we decided to open our gifts. I headed for the biggest gift I had, but my family told me to open the card first. When I did, I saw that it was a letter and the sender was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was addressed to Elder Samuel Osorio.
By then all I could see were camera flashes, as my father took pictures of my astonished face. I was so happy and grateful to receive my call on Christmas Eve.
That was my best Christmas present ever. My mission was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and my call from the Lord is the best gift I’ve ever received at Christmas.