The Gift That Took Our Breath Away

Sometimes we receive Christmas gifts that soon lose their shine. But once in a while we receive a gift that simply takes our breath away. My husband and I received such a Christmas gift a couple of years ago from our seven children. As Christmas drew near we noticed there were no wrapped gifts under the tree for us from any of our children. They informed us that this Christmas we would receive a gift that was better than anything we had ever received before. Even our son who was serving in the Canada Toronto West Mission said, “You will love this gift.” Christmas Day finally arrived, and our children presented us our gift. I opened the long white envelope, and through the tears this is what I read.

Dear Mom and Dad,

For more than a quarter of a century you have sacrificed so much so that each of us could achieve our goals and aspirations in life. Your examples of living the gospel of Jesus Christ have shaped our lives into what they are today. We will be eternally indebted to you for the love and support you have given each of us throughout the years.

In the year 2002 our family went through many difficult challenges. It felt as though everything our parents had worked to build over the years had been taken away in the blink of an eye. As your children, we have watched how you have reacted to these challenges, and we have been impressed with your unshakable determination to always do what is right.

We are aware that we will never be able to return to you that which you have given, but we hope that this gift will be a token of our appreciation for everything that you have blessed us with.

We have established a mission fund in your names. Each of us has contributed to this account, and we will continue to contribute money to this account until you are ready to serve a mission for the Church. Our goal is to be able to pay for your mission expenses while you are gone. We are confident the Lord will bless this account and will also bless you with a greater desire and determination to serve Him in the mission field a lot sooner than you had expected.

We love you and are so grateful for all you do for each of us. May the Lord continue to bless you.

The letter was signed by all of our children as well as the spouses of those who were married.

We are truly thankful for each of our children, and we look forward to serving in the future as a missionary couple because of their kind and thoughtful gift.

It was indeed the best Christmas gift we have ever received.

[illustration] Illustration by Roger Motzkus