“Christmas Mystery,” New Era, Dec. 2002, 26
After a long and hard divorce, my mother decided to move our family from Germany to the United States—the home she’d left many years ago when she married my father. Even though my brothers and I were excited, it was a difficult time for us. We had to adjust to a new home and to a different country and culture.
Soon we found a house, and my brothers and I started school. We had moved to Massachusetts, where we attended a small ward. The members welcomed us warmly, and we quickly made many good friends.
Things weren’t going too badly, but my mother hadn’t been able to find a job as quickly as we had hoped. My older brother was serving a mission, and Christmas was coming closer, so money was tight. My younger brothers and I knew we wouldn’t be getting many presents that year. I often saw my mother sitting in her room, thinking of how to pay the bills and still have enough to buy presents and make this a wonderful Christmas. My brothers and I tried to convince her that we didn’t need any presents. But she knew we were just trying to make things easier and that we would be disappointed if we didn’t get anything at all.
Christmas Eve came, and we each had a couple of presents under the tree. Mother was completing the final preparations when the phone rang. She answered it. All she heard was, “An elf from the North Pole has left something for you at the front door.” Then the line was dead.
I stepped out of my room and saw my mother standing beside the phone. When I asked who had called, she slowly repeated the message she had heard. I quickly grabbed her, and we opened the front door. Outside were five big bags filled with presents. Each was carefully wrapped and had a tag.
I hurriedly woke my brothers, and with great excitement we opened the bags and placed the gifts under the tree. Long after going to bed, each of us wondered who might have called and left the bags on our doorstep. My mother didn’t go to bed for a long time. She just sat in the living room and looked at the Christmas tree with all its lights and the presents lying beneath it.
Christmas day came. We got up and opened our presents, which were all carefully selected to match our interests and needs. It was the nicest Christmas I’ve ever had.
We still don’t know who gave us the wonderful gifts, and we decided to stop trying to figure it out. But I will never forget that Christmas, not only because of the presents, but because of the lesson I learned. We are all saved because of Jesus Christ’s great love for us. He was born and died for each of us, and too often we forget the true meaning of Christmas. That year I was reminded of the love the Savior has for each of us and that he wants us to love and serve one another. I am so grateful for the Christlike example of our secret friend.