My name is Ginger Lyn and I’ve always loved Christmas, but last year was the best one we’ve ever had.
It all started on our Thanksgiving Day the last Thursday in November, as our family knelt in prayer to give thanks for our blessings. We were all so happy that we talked about some of the things we could do to help others have that same happy feeling.
Together we came up with many ideas, but the best one of all was our plan for Christmas Day. What we like most is our large family, and the happiness the gospel brings to us. We decided to share both these blessings as our gift to others.
The Salt Lake Temple is only a short drive from our home, and going there was part of our plan. We decided that on Christmas Day, after opening our gifts and eating breakfast, we would clean up the house, fix a big dinner, and then go to the temple grounds and find someone to spend Christmas with us. Before going down to the Visitors Center on Temple Square to find our unknown guests, we would set the table with candles and our best silver and crystal, lay a fire in the fireplace all ready to light, and turn on the Christmas tree lights.
We pasted a picture of our family inside the cover of some copies of the Book of Mormon, wrote a message under each picture, and signed our names. These books were to be given to our dinner guests as we sat around the fire and talked in the evening.
We were excited about our plan, and we knew the Lord would help us. In all our family prayers from Thanksgiving until Christmas, we asked Him to prepare for us someone in need of our love who would be ready to hear the gospel.
Christmas Day finally came and we were all excited. It took us a lot longer to cook the dinner and clean the house than we thought it would. Because of this we arrived at the Visitors Center later than we had planned. We were afraid everyone would have eaten by then and we wouldn’t find anyone to share Christmas dinner with us.
We talked with a number of people and invited several of them to our home. Some said they had already eaten and others looked a little puzzled and said, “No, thank you.” But we just kept asking because we knew that our Heavenly Father had prepared somebody for us. And sure enough, He had!
We found a father and mother from Michigan and their seventeen-year-old son. They were surprised at our invitation, but said they were very hungry and were just going to look in the phone book to find a place to eat. The father and mother had been to the Visitors Center before on another vacation, and on this visit they wanted their son to learn a little bit about the Latter-day Saint people. The father said, “There isn’t a better way for us to learn about your church and lifestyle than to go right into one of your homes. We’d be delighted to come!”
We also invited two young women who were on vacation from Australia to our home. They seemed excited too. They said they hadn’t eaten dinner and would enjoy being with a family at Christmastime.
We had a wonderful time on that Christmas night, eating and talking and answering questions about the Church. Before we said good-bye to our guests they thanked us over and over again. The Michigan family said they would always remember their Christmas dinner with us as a highlight of their trip, and before they left they took a picture of us around the Christmas tree.
The girls from Australia were a little teary as we gave them each a copy of the Book of Mormon with our picture inside the cover.
After the visitors had left, our family gathered in the kitchen to do the dishes. We agreed that the real spirit of Christmas had touched each one of us and that it had been the best Christmas ever. We learned, too, that we don’t have to wait for Christmas to have a Christ-like feeling—all we have to do is share the gospel with others and it can be Christmas every day of the year!