“Gifts from the Heart,” New Era, Dec. 2009, 34–36
Our Heavenly Father gave us the greatest gift of all when He sent His Son to earth. During the Christmas season we remember our Father’s great gift to us—the Savior—by happily giving and gratefully receiving gifts of our own. Many presents are brightly wrapped and ribboned, others are simple yet sincere, and some are just meant to exchange deep feelings.
Looking back, we often find that gifts from the heart are what we remember and love the most. Here are some of the best Christmas gifts that these young people have received.
The greatest Christmas present I ever received came early one Christmas morning. At some point during the night the furnace in our house had gone out, and there was no heat for us on that snowy morning. We huddled in blankets close to the Christmas tree and opened presents. While it wasn’t physically the warmest Christmas ever, it was one of the most memorable, as we spent time together trying to keep each other warm and enjoying each other’s company.
The best gift I have ever received was my own hymnbook, because music is a huge part of my life. Music lifts me up when I am down.
Although some of the most exciting Christmas gifts come in a physical form, the best gift I ever received came through an act of service. My family has the tradition of delivering food boxes to the needy during the holiday season. Most of the encounters that my family has had are valuable experiences, but one in particular will remain with me.
Carrying a food box and gifts, my family approached a small, run-down apartment and knocked on the door. We were greeted by a lady who spoke only Spanish. Immediately after she opened the door, my family began singing “Silent Night.” Not long into the song, she broke into tears out of gratefulness. All she could say was “Gracias, gracias” repeatedly as she embraced us.
Although her language and background were entirely different from ours, we immediately felt a connection. She was grateful for our offer of help, and I understood what it meant to truly be thankful for even the simplest necessities. I walked out of the apartment with a whole new outlook, realizing that we owe the Lord our gratitude for even our most basic needs.
One Christmas Eve, I stayed up late into the night finishing a short story for my father. The story was about a young girl who wanted to be an angel in her community’s Christmas nativity. I named the girl Cosette after my father’s sister, who had passed away earlier in the year.
The next morning I got to watch the soft expression on my father’s face and see the tears shine in his eyes as he read what I had written. I can still remember the feeling when he finished and looked up at me. His quiet and simple “thank you” was the best gift I received that Christmas morning. It helped me see how our Heavenly Father and our Savior must feel when we gratefully receive the blessings They send us every day.
When my brother, Keb, was a teenager, he regularly helped the elderly in our neighborhood. At Christmastime he made three-dimensional Christmas tree cakes, the kind that take forever to decorate because each branch has to be frosted separately. His present to me came when he asked me to help him secretly deliver the gifts to our neighbors. We carefully placed each gift so it would be found, and then we ran. Boy, did we run! And we were never caught. His example of service is something I can never repay or replace.
—Anita Brady Bergman