Christmas time seems to make us better, kinder, more thoughtful and considerate of others, said President James E. Faust on Dec. 3.
"We want to make our loved ones, our friends, and even those we don't know a little happier."
Speaking at the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional, President Faust said words cannot fully express his gratitude for the birth and mortal life of Jesus of Nazareth and His atoning sacrifice.
"I have felt the Savior's guidance and His Spirit," he said. "At this time of the year when we commemorate His birth, we should also take time to contemplate with deep reverence His death and the transcending sanctification of the Resurrection. Our Savior was also a great teacher, and it is important for us to follow the things He taught."
President Faust said of all the Savior's profound teachings, he would like to focus on one: "It is to do for others that which they cannot do for themselves."
He then recounted a story by an unknown author, which represents the spirit of Christmas.
In September of 1960, a young mother found herself alone with six hungry children and just 75 cents in her pocket. After searching her small Indiana town, she found a job working nights at a truck stop called the Big Wheel.
The mother found a teenager to watch her children and began work. The tires on her 1952 car were so worn that she would fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning on the way home.
"One bleak fall morning as she dragged herself to the car to go home, she found four tires on the back seat. Four new tires. There was no note just those beautiful brand new tires."
As Christmas approached, the mother knew there would be no money to buy toys for her children. She began painting and repairing old toys so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.
"On Christmas Eve the usual truckers, Les, Frank and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe were all sitting around at the Big Wheel. They talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
"When it came time for this young mother to go home on Christmas morning, she hurried to her car hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before she managed to get home and get the presents from the basement. It was not yet light outside, and there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car. Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell just what."
When she reached the car she was amazed. The old car was filled with boxes of all shapes and sizes. There were blue jeans, shirts, candy, nuts and bananas. There were bags of groceries, an enormous ham, canned vegetables, cookies and flour. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
"As that young mother drove back through empty streets on that most amazing Christmas Day, she sobbed with gratitude. She would never forget the joy on the faces of those little ones that precious Christmas morning. Surely there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And many of them hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop."
President Faust said the kindness of the unknown benefactors in this story shows a very real Christmas spirit.
"In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior taught, 'When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.' In the same sermon He teaches us that those who do acts of service to gain recognition already have received their reward, whereas those who act anonymously will be rewarded in heaven.
"I wish to express appreciation and thanks to all who open their hearts and give to others," President Faust said.
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