The Savior’s love, which shines through this Christmastime experience of President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, can brighten our lives all year long.
One winter day as Christmas approached, I thought back to an experience from my boyhood. I was eleven. Our Primary president, Melissa, was an older and loving gray-haired lady.
One day at Primary, Melissa asked me to stay behind and visit with her. The two of us sat in the otherwise empty chapel. She placed her arm about my shoulder and began to cry. Surprised, I asked her why she was crying. She replied: “I don’t seem to be able to encourage the Trail Builder [now Blazer] boys to be reverent during the opening exercises of Primary. Would you be willing to help me, Tommy?”
I promised her I would. Strangely to me, but not to Melissa, that ended any problem of reverence in that Primary. She had gone to the source of the problem—me. The solution was love.
The years flew by. Marvelous Melissa, now in her nineties, lived in a nursing [home] in the northwest part of Salt Lake City. Just before Christmas, I determined to visit my beloved Primary president. Over the car radio, I heard the song “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” I reflected on the visit made by wise men those long years ago. They brought gifts of gold, of frankincense, and of myrrh. I brought only the gift of love and a desire to say “Thank you.”
I found Melissa in the lunchroom. She stared at her plate of food, teasing it with the fork she held in her aged hand. Not a bite did she eat. As I spoke to her, my words were met with a blank stare. I took the fork in hand and began to feed Melissa, talking all the time I did so about her service to boys and girls as a Primary worker. There wasn’t so much as a glimmer of recognition, far less a spoken word.
Two other residents of the nursing home gazed at me with puzzled expressions. At last they spoke, saying: “She doesn’t know anyone, even her own family. She hasn’t said a word in all the time she’s been here.”
Lunch ended. My one-sided conversation wound down. I stood to leave. I held her frail hand in mine, gazed into her wrinkled but beautiful countenance, and said: “God bless you, Melissa. Merry Christmas.”
Without warning, she spoke the words: “I know you. You’re Tommy Monson, my Primary boy. How I love you.” She pressed my hand to her lips and bestowed on it the kiss of love. Tears coursed down her cheeks and bathed our clasped hands. Those hands, that day, were hallowed [made holy] by heaven and graced by God. The herald angels did sing. Outside the sky was blue—azure blue. The air was cool—crispy cool. The snow was white—crystal white.
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.*
The wondrous gift was given, the heavenly blessing was received, the dear Christ entered in—all through the doorway of love.
(See Ensign, October 1996, page 7.)