Christmas Eve with the Córdobas

“Christmas Eve with the Córdobas,” Friend, Dec. 2015, 4–5

Christmas Eve with the Córdobas

Marycielo and I had only one present. How could we share?

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

On Christmas Eve there were only two presents under our little tree. One was for my two-year-old sister, Marycielo, and one was for me. Money was tight, Mama said, so it was all we would have.

That night Mama read a story from the Liahona about a Christmas without any presents. As she read, I felt happy and peaceful. Maybe having only one present wasn’t so bad. Then Mama said, “Instead of playing games like we usually do for Christmas Eve, what if we bring gifts to a family in the ward?”

“But what can we give them?” I asked.

“Well, we have a bit to spare.”

I glanced at our two presents, then at the picture of Jesus on the wall. “I guess Jesus would share what He had.”

We prayed about which family to visit. Many of the families we knew didn’t have much that year. After praying, we felt like we should visit the Córdoba family. They had three children, and their papa had lost his job.

We went to the store and bought panetón (a holiday bread), a baked chicken, and three little presents. We had fun picking them out. Mama spent all the money she had, about 30 Peruvian soles (about 10 U.S. dollars).

Once we were done, we drove to the Córdobas’. I held Marycielo’s hand as we walked to the door.

Sister Córdoba saw us and came out to hug us. “What a nice surprise! Come in! Sit down,” she said. As we walked inside, she squeezed Mama’s hand and patted my shoulder. “Rolando and the girls will be so happy to see you,” she told me.

The floor inside the house was made of dirt. There was no electricity, just candles. I was a little sad for the Córdoba family. I wished we could do more to help them. But Mama didn’t seem to notice the dirt or candles. She was just happy to be here with Sister Córdoba.

“We came to wish you a feliz Navidad!” Mama said. “We’re glad we’re friends.” She gave the food and presents to Sister Córdoba, who gave a big smile and said thank you.

Rolando, Madeline, and Raquel ran in from the other room to say hello. Marycielo peeked around my leg and smiled. She laughed when Rolando made a funny face at her. Soon everyone was talking, telling jokes, and laughing.

This is better than playing games by ourselves, I thought. I was glad we had come. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have much to share. And it didn’t matter if the floors were dirt. Christmas wasn’t about what we had. It was about being together.

As we got ready to leave, Sister Córdoba hugged us again. “Thank you so much,” she said. Her voice was shaking, and I could see tears in her eyes. I stood on my tiptoes and kissed Sister Córdoba on the cheek.

“Feliz Navidad,” I said.

Friend Magazine, 2015/12 Dec