It was our first Christmas away from home. Elders Heemeyer, Bright, Kehoe, Schulze, Westover, and I had all gathered in one apartment to share Christmas Eve. We hoped that spending the evening together as a missionary district might make it easier to be away from home.
It was about 5:30 in the afternoon, and we were all a little discouraged. Setting up appointments with investigators and finding new people to teach had been difficult recently. “Come back after Christmas,” everyone said.
After talking for a few minutes, Elder Schulze suggested we go caroling to the homes of our investigators and some of the members. We all thought it was a great idea, and we planned a short program. We would start with two hymns and a spiritual thought. Then we would conclude with another hymn and a prayer. The whole program would be only 20 minutes long, but we all felt pleased with it.
Before we left, we knelt to pray. Then we set out into the cold night on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States.
Our first stop was the apartment of a member whose daughter and two grandchildren were investigating the Church. We certainly weren’t the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but for six elders we sounded pretty good. After we shared our program, the family told us our “gift” was the best they had ever received.
Soon we were at a different apartment presenting our program to another family. At every stop, our enthusiasm and joy grew. We kept hearing the same response: “This is the best gift ever. You really brought the Christmas spirit.”
That night I came to better understand the true meaning of Christmas—that sharing and serving others are what Jesus Christ’s ministry is all about. And while we were busy in the service of others and of the Savior, home didn’t really seem so far away.