“I Felt like an Angel,” New Era, Dec. 1998, 20
Although the afternoon was crisp and cold, inside our house we were warm and snug. In my parents’ room, my three sisters and I were all busily wrapping presents for the Fitzpatricks.* Ever since my early childhood we’d been friends with the Fitzpatricks, and I was always painfully aware of how little the parents and their four children had.
With the gifts in a pile, my sisters and I formed an assembly line wrapping a present and taking it to my mother. After checking the contents of the package, she would decide who would get what, and then sign it “Santa.” She would deposit the gift in a large plastic bag, and we would go to the next one. Using this method we quickly and efficiently finished wrapping the presents in about an hour.
Later that night we all piled into the family van with those plastic bags and headed toward the trailer park where the Fitzpatricks lived. After parking the van, my dad got out, walked to the trailer, and waited at the door. When he was sure no one was home, he unloaded the bags and left them on the porch.
The following Sunday I sat with my family in sacrament meeting. Sitting still and trying to listen was not something I did readily, and soon I became mesmerized by the pictures I was drawing. At one point I glanced up to see Sister Fitzpatrick at the pulpit. But I was only vaguely aware of what she was saying. Suddenly my sister Audrey jabbed me with her elbow and whispered that she was talking about us.
Streaming down her face were tears, and her voice shook as she spoke. She told the congregation how they didn’t have money for Christmas and they weren’t sure what to do. Upon returning that night, they found the bags of presents on their porch. She warmly thanked the gift givers.
The Fitzpatricks never found out who left the Christmas presents for them, although from the pulpit Sister Fitzpatrick said she knew the gifts came from someone in the congregation. Amazingly, tears came to my eyes, and I had to look down to brush them away. That was when I first felt like an angel.