Young Tommy Monson had always wanted a pony. He often admired his friend Henry’s Shetland pony. Wouldn’t he love to have one too!
One December, right before Christmas, Tommy’s mother took him to the toy department of a store in Salt Lake City. The store was going to give away a Shetland pony! To enter the contest, children had to write a note telling why they wanted the pony for Christmas. Tommy carefully wrote his note and placed it in the large box right next to the live pony in the toy department.
Finally the day came when the winner of the pony was going to be announced. Tommy and his mother waited in the excited crowd. Tommy was sure he would win the pony. He had already made a home for it in his sister’s playhouse in the backyard and stacked a pile of hay nearby. But when the name was chosen out of the box, it wasn’t Tommy’s name. Another child took the pony home, and Tommy was heartbroken.
As they left the store, Tommy and his mother walked past a man ringing a bell beside a small kettle to collect money for the poor. Tommy’s mother stopped and dropped in a big silver coin. Then she asked, “Tommy, do you have any money you would like to give to the poor for Christmas?” Tommy reached in his pocket, pulled out two nickels, and dropped them into the kettle, one after the other. It was all the money he had.
President Monson still remembers that day. “I didn’t win the pony,” he recalls. “But I received a far greater gift, even ‘the smile of God’s approval.’” It was a good Christmas after all.