On The 23rd Day of counting down, we’ve reached the Eve of Christmas Eve…
here is a story that warms the heart, and helps us to believe!
The following anonymous letter arrived on the desk of President Thomas S. Monson in December 1998.
“Dear President Monson:
“I am a dentist by profession…my receptionist informed me that an acquaintance of hers was coming into my office. She had problems with two of her teeth. She knew this woman and told me of her circumstances. The woman carried many burdens. The family business, which she ran, was doing poorly and the family was three months behind in paying rent. They had five children, many grown into adulthood, but all had moved back home because of difficult personal circumstances. By sheer force of will, she had kept her family together for some time. Now two teeth were broken.
“The woman arrived for her appointment and explained about her dental problem. She asked if I would allow her to pay her bill over time. She explained to me that her family had experienced several financial reversals and were just recently starting to pay some overdue bills.
“Since I had the time, I repaired both teeth, for which she was grateful. When the work was completed…I told her that if she would not be offended, I should like to make a Christmas present of the dental work, for which there would be no bill. She was astonished. I could sense the depth of the stress and strain she had carried, as uncontrollable tears of gratitude gushed forth due to a small, simple act of kindness. It must have been years since someone showed her some little favor. Not able to speak, she made her way out.
“Both my assistant and receptionist were so moved by her reaction that they also sprouted tears and could hardly speak. I, on the other hand, was doubly glad. One part, in seeing such a simple act have such a happy effect on another. And the second part, for once in my life having a patient in my office crying for joy, and not for pain!
“To you, my very best wishes.
“A brother in the gospel”
President David O. McKay said:
“True happiness comes only by making others happy—the practical application of the Savior’s doctrine of losing one’s life to gain it. In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service.
“It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring ‘peace on earth,’ because it means—good will toward all men.”
The bells may call across the snow,
And carols search the air;
But, oh, the heart will miss the thrill
Unless it’s Christmas there.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Gifts”
Excerpts of a talk given in December 1998 by President Thomas S. Monson, then First Counselor in the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, entitled: What Is Christmas?