“Never Too Old,” New Era, Dec. 2012, 47
Grandma was 75 years old when she initiated a “12 days of Christmas” secret Santa project with her Sunday School class of 14-year-olds. “How would you like to do something nice for someone?” she asked. Each person in the class, including Grandma, would secretly take treats to Brother Johnson, who had recently lost his wife. “Sometimes,” Grandma had said, “people may feel alone and need service even if they are not poor.”
Brother Johnson’s house was set far back from the road, and there was a wrought iron fence surrounding the property. On the night of her first turn, Grandma parked down the street and stealthily crept up to the door. She placed the package, rang the bell, and suddenly realized she couldn’t run fast enough to get away. She quickly crouched behind the car and held her breath. Brother Johnson came to the door, picked up the package, and looked around.
He stepped out into the night to get a better look and came up to the car. Grandma slumped down behind the bumper, scarcely breathing. Brother Johnson gave up the search and went back into the house. Grandma was safe this time.
On the night of her second turn, she found the gates locked. Somewhat relieved that she wouldn’t need to crouch behind the car again, she hung the gift on the gate and returned home.
On the night of her third visit, we received a call. “Please,” she said, “would you come and help me deliver my secret Santa gift?” We accepted and started toward the house with the gift. We started to laugh when we saw how challenging this house was to approach.
In church that Sunday, Brother Johnson expressed his gratitude that the gifts had made him feel the love of the ward on his first Christmas alone. Grandma will always be our example of compassion and charity and has taught us that you’re never too old to serve.