Alone and Grateful at Christmas
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“Alone and Grateful at Christmas,” Ensign, December 2019

Latter-day Saint Voices

Alone and Grateful at Christmas

The Broken Nativity

Illustration by Daria Kirpach

For me while growing up, Christmas was the greatest time of year—not simply because of the gifts but also because Christmas was a time to share with those who mattered most in my life, my family.

Family means everything to me, and through the years, Christmas traditions were always a wonderful arrangement of family fun that still carries many cherished memories for me.

But this past Christmas was different. I had a new job that required me to be out of town on Christmas. Up to this point in my life, I had missed only two Christmases with my family—both while on my mission. Before I even left on my business trip, I was already heartsick and homesick. All Christmas Day I thought, “What a waste!” No work could possibly be worth this!

I decided to watch a movie on TV in my hotel room. In the movie, one of the characters expressed how important it is to give thanks. It wasn’t a major part of the movie, nor was it a particularly moving scene, but nothing could have touched me more.

In that moment I realized that I had never gotten on my knees on Christmas Day to thank Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. In all the years I celebrated Christmas, I had really focused only on my family, presents, and games. Despite my parents’ and grandparents’ best efforts to teach me, I never truly appreciated just how important the Savior was to Christmas. As a family, we read the story of His birth in the scriptures, but I had never given much thought to the significance of His birth on Christmas.

Tears filled my eyes as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I thanked Him for the sacrifice He made to have His Only Begotten Son come to earth and for His Son’s wonderful life of sacrifice and kindness. The fact that I was alone and away from my family on Christmas still made me sad, but it allowed Heavenly Father to teach me a lesson I might never have learned while surrounded by my family: the Savior is the reason I could have a family at all!

I’m grateful that being alone at Christmas brought me just a little better understanding of Heavenly Father’s loving and infinite gift of His Son.