One Christmas we had an interesting experience that I would like to
share. Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening
things when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small
package with a beautiful ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the
calendar and realized that the 12 days of Christmas were beginning! We
excitedly for the next night's surprise and only then, with the gift of
a matching shepherd, did we realized that the lamb was part of a
Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive.
Each was exquisitely beautiful. The kids kept trying to catch the
givers as we slowing built the scene at the manager and began to focus
on Christ's birth.
On Christmas Eve, all the pieces were in place, but the baby Jesus. My
12 year-old son really wanted to catch our benefactors and began to
devise all kinds of ways to trap them. He ate his dinner in the
mini-van watching and waiting, but no one came.
Finally we called him in to go through our family's Christmas Eve
traditions. But before the kids went to bed we checked the front
step -- No Baby Jesus! We began to worry that my son had scared them
My husband suggested that maybe they dropped the Jesus and there
wouldn't be anything coming. Somehow something was missing that
Christmas Eve. There was a feeling that things weren't complete.
kids went to bed and I put out Christmas, but before I went to bed I
again checked to see if the Jesus had come -- no, the doorstep was
In our family the kids can open their stockings when they want to, but
they have to wait to open any presents until Dad wakes up. So one by
one they woke up very early and I also woke up to watch them. Even
before they opened their stockings, each child checked to see if
perhaps during the night the baby Jesus had come. Missing that piece of the
set seemed to have an odd effect. At least it changed my focus. I knew
there were presents under the tree for me and I was excited to watch
the children open their gifts, but first on my mind was the feeling of
waiting for the ceramic Christ Child.
We had opened just about all of the presents when one of the children
found one more for me buried deep beneath the limbs of the tree. He
handed me a small package from my former visiting teaching companion.
This sister was somewhat less-active in the church. I had been her
visiting teacher for a couple of years and then, when she was asked to
be a visiting teacher, she requested to go with me. I had learned over
time they didn't have much for Christmas, so that their focus was the
children. It sounded like she didn't get many gifts to open, so I had
always given her a small package--new dish towels, the next year's
Relief Society lesson manual--not much, but something for her to open.
I was touched when at Church on the day before Christmas, she had
given me this small package, saying it was just a token of her love and
As I took off the bow, I remembered my friendship with her and was
filled with gratitude for knowing her and for her kindness and sacrifice
In this year giving me a gift. But as the paper fell away, I began to
tremble and cry. There in the small brown box was the baby Jesus. He
had come! I realized on that Christmas Day that Christ will come into
our lives in ways that we don't expect. The spirit of Christ comes into our
hearts as we serve one another. We had waited and watched for him to
come, expecting the dramatic "knock at the door and scurrying of feet"
but he came in a small, simple package that represented service
friendship, gratitude, and love.
This experience taught me that the beginning of the true spirit of
Christmas comes as we open our hearts and actively focus on the
Savior. But we will most likely find him in the small and simple acts of
friendship and service that we give to each other. This Christmas I
want to feel again the joy of knowing that Christ is in our home. I
want to focus on loving and serving. More than that I want to open my
heart to him all year that I may see him again.