10472_000_008All God’s children, come to adore, bringing gifts of love evermore (Children’s Songbook, 40).
“Time for family home evening!” Dad called.
I hurried to the living room. We always did fun things on the first family home evening of December.
My younger sister, Michelle, ran ahead of me and jumped into the soft blue armchair.
“No fair!” I exclaimed. “You got to sit there last week. It’s my turn.”
“I got here first, so I get to sit here,” she argued. “You can sit on the couch.”
“I don’t want to sit on the couch,” I snapped.
I stormed over to the rocking chair and turned it so I wouldn’t have to look at Michelle. She made me so mad sometimes! She thought she could have whatever she wanted. Whenever I complained, Mom told me I needed to be unselfish.
After our family sang a hymn and prayed, Dad said, “Christmas is an exciting time, and we need to remember the true meaning of the holiday. Tonight we are going to start with our gifts to Jesus.”
Our gifts to Jesus. I had forgotten about that! We did it every year.
“We celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born,” Dad continued. “He made it possible for us to receive the greatest gift—eternal life with Heavenly Father.”
“And what has He asked us to do in return?” Mom asked.
“To follow Him and keep His commandments,” my brother answered.
Mom gave us each a card and pen. We were supposed to write how we would show Jesus we love Him. That was our gift—to choose something we would do to be more like Jesus.
I knew immediately what my gift should be. Jesus taught us to love others, even if they made us angry. I knew Jesus wanted me to love my sister. I wrote, “I will be nice to Michelle.”
We put our cards in a box wrapped in gold paper. We put the box under the Christmas tree. Every time we looked at the box, we were supposed to remember the Savior’s gift to us and our gift to Him.
A few days later, I saw that Michelle had taken my favorite shirt without asking. I wanted to yell at her. Then I looked at the gold box and remembered how much I loved Jesus. I could show Him love by being kind to my sister. I said, “You look really pretty today, Michelle.”
She smiled. “I’m sorry I didn’t ask to wear your shirt. You weren’t here when I got dressed, and I wanted to look extra nice for my class Christmas party today.”
I felt warm inside. I was glad I had chosen to be nice to Michelle instead of getting angry at her.
For the rest of the month, I tried to remember that good feeling and my goal to be like Jesus. I got better at being patient and loving.
On Christmas Eve, Dad read the nativity story, and the rest of us acted it out. I decided to be the angel instead of arguing with Michelle over who got to play the part of Mary.
Next we opened the gold box and read our gifts to Jesus out loud. When I read mine, Mom said, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been extra nice to Michelle. I’m so proud of you!”
I was proud too. I hadn’t unwrapped any presents yet, but I had already received something special: a feeling from the Holy Ghost telling me I had done the right thing.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Christ the Savior Is Born,” New Era, Dec. 2006, 2.