“A Sweet Christmas,” Liahona, December 2018
My family has made Christmas a memorable occasion for as long as I can remember. When I left for the Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission, I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to spend Christmas away from them for the first time.
During my first Christmas in the mission field, I longed to be with my family, but my companion and I were alone. A sense of self-pity and sadness seized me.
On Christmas Eve, a dear family invited my companion and me to dinner. We had a nice evening, but this family’s happiness just reminded me that I was away from my own family. That night we went home, and I tried to sleep and forget that the next day was Christmas. For the first time in my life, I was relieved when Christmas was over.
A year later, I reflected on the previous Christmas and thought about what I could do to have a better Christmas in the mission field. I realized that my feelings of sadness the year before came from focusing on myself instead of on the Savior. I also realized that Christmas is a time to remember the Savior’s birth and that I should be happy to serve Him as His representative.
In talking with my companion, we decided to buy lollipops to give to members, investigators, children, and anyone else we came across on Christmas Day. We also practiced Christmas hymns to sing. Joy flooded my heart on Christmas Day as we met with people, sang hymns, and gave away lollipops.
On our way home that evening, we met an elderly man sitting on the sidewalk. We asked if he had received a Christmas present that day. He said yes—he had spoken on the phone with his children who lived far away.
“We have one more present to give you,” we said. We gave him a lollipop.
“This will not only sweeten my mouth,” he said, “but this will also sweeten my spirit.”
I had the worst Christmas on my mission because I focused only on myself. I also had the best Christmas when I instead focused on the Savior. I know when we focus on Him, He will bring sweetness to our spirits at Christmas and every day of the year.