No Greater Gift
It was a week before Christmas, and 8 year old Emily still hadn’t found a present for her mother. She had thought so many times about the perfect present; about what would make her mother cry or have that special warm feeling. What could she give her mother to show her appreciation?
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David… To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Even though she was surrounded by the joy of Christmas, music playing, presents and wrapping paper littering the house, by Christmas Eve Emily still didn’t have a present for her mother. She felt very troubled, indeed.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Looking at the gifts her older siblings had found, Emily felt that since Christmas was but one day away and because she was so very small, there was certainly nothing that she could give her mother that would show her love for her and make her feel that special Christmas feeling.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger…And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Emily kept her concerns to herself throughout the Christmas Eve gathering of her family, hoping that sometime that night she might get an idea of what to give her mother. But as she participated in the Nativity with her cousins and her family sang Christmas carols, Emily suddenly felt tears prickle the back of her eyes and joy fill her heart.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying:
For Emily then realized what Christmas was truly about. Looking around her family and the love she felt in her heart for them and the Spirit of Christmas which surrounded them, she knew that Christmas was not about the gifts, the wrapping, the bows, the holly, the tree, the snow, the food, or the lights. Christmas was about the birth of the Savior of the World, sent to redeem all mankind. Christmas was a time for feeling the love of the Savior, and for spreading it to others. The greatest gifts given to men were that of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice. Emily knew that she could give her mother no better gift than the knowledge that she understood this. And so it was that on Christmas morning when Emily’s mother opened her gift brightly wrapped in bows and ribbons, she found but a piece of paper which read:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”