“A Gift from the Heart,” Liahona, Dec. 2005, 41
In December 1996 I found myself serving a full-time mission in the Mexico Monterrey North Mission. My companion was a young sister from Utah. It was my first Christmas away from home without my children and grandchildren, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my children were doing and who was preparing dinner, since I wasn’t there to do it.
I was quieter than usual, so my companion gave me a hug and said, “I’m going to make a delicious dinner for you.” I looked at her lovely face and into her beautiful blue eyes that were looking back at me with so much love, the way my children and grandchildren look at me. I smiled at her.
The dinner she prepared was just a warm cinnamon drink, but for me it was a great delicacy. I was 46 years old, and she was only 21. Always I was concerned about giving, and I didn’t think about receiving. As missionaries we did not have any money to give, so we gave love and service instead. Without my companion knowing it, I had bought a pair of gloves and a scarf to protect her from the cold. That was my gift to her. But she gave me something that couldn’t be bought with all the gold in the world: love and service.
That night her gift taught me that Christmas is for giving the most beautiful part of ourselves, the feelings of our hearts. Very shyly I took out my gifts for my dear companion. I felt so humble to give her what I had bought, compared with her great love.
Every Christmas after returning home from my mission, I have shared with my children and grandchildren that wonderful Christmas. I will always be grateful to my Heavenly Father and to Jesus Christ for the holy season of Christmas and to my companion for her example of love.