Luke looked forward to Christmas all year. He liked singing Christmas carols at church, going to the ward Christmas party, and decorating cookies to give to neighbors.
But this year Luke was having a hard time feeling merry. His dad had lost his job, so his parents couldn’t afford some of their usual family traditions. Dad didn’t put out all their decorations. Mom didn’t bake as many holiday treats. And the Christmas tree was really small this year.
During family home evening, Luke’s parents told him and his younger brothers, Cory and Ethan, that they had enough saved to buy them one Christmas present each. Luke knew he should be grateful, but mostly he was disappointed. This Christmas just wouldn’t feel the same.
Luke couldn’t figure out why, but Cory and Ethan were actually excited. They started guessing what their gifts might be.
“A video game!”
Luke didn’t make any guesses. And when Ethan said, “An elephant!” Luke was the only one who didn’t laugh.
Mom noticed Luke’s frown. “Why don’t we play a game to help us get into the Christmas spirit?” she said.
His brothers cheered. Luke sighed. He was too old for silly games.
Mom took the baby Jesus from their nativity set. “Close your eyes,” she said.
Ethan and Cory covered their eyes and giggled. Luke put his face in a pillow.
A moment later Mom said they could open their eyes. “I hid the baby Jesus somewhere in the room,” she said. “Dad and I will help you find Him by saying you’re warm when you’re close to Him or cold when you’re far away.”
Cory and Ethan jumped up and began searching.
“Cory, you’re cold,” Mom said. “Ethan, you’re colder. Ice cold. Brrr, you’re freezing! Luke, your brothers need your help!”
Luke slowly stood up to help search.
“Luke’s cold, but he’s getting warmer,” Dad said. “Warmer. Hot. Hotter. He’s on fire!”
Luke found the baby Jesus figure tucked behind a book on the shelf. Cory and Ethan ran over to look. “Me next! Me next!” they shouted.
“OK,” Dad said. “But first, let’s talk about what we learned.”
“What do you mean?” Luke asked.
“Well,” Mom said, “the more we look for Jesus in our lives and do things to get nearer to Him, the warmer we feel inside and the happier we are.”
Dad nodded. “The things we do to grow closer to Jesus make us happy forever. That’s the real Christmas spirit.”
Warmth spread through Luke’s chest. He looked down at the little baby Jesus figure in his hand. Christmas wasn’t about presents or decorations or cookies. It was about celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world. As Luke thought about Jesus, the warmth inside him seemed to get bigger and bigger. And the smile on Luke’s face got bigger too.
“Let’s play again!” Cory said.
“Mom, can I hide baby Jesus this time?” Luke asked. “I’m in the Christmas spirit now.”
The Christmas Spirit
“As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “In Search of the Christmas Spirit,” Ensign, Dec. 1987, 5.