Saturday, December 10, 2011

Great Joy!

This, the sixth in a series of posts written by my brother, Tom, celebrates a special Christmas gift. I remember it well as I was a recipient of a similar gift. It is the Christmas I will never forget.
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As a kid, I always felt sorry for my older cousins at Christmas time.  They were about 15 years older than our family of kids and when we visited during the holidays, all they had under their tree were boxes of shirts, ties, sweaters and skirts!  How could Christmas be fun for them?  Also, to my complete horror Santa would usually come to their home after dinner on Christmas Eve while they were out for a short ride.  “This way we can sleep in on Christmas morning” they would explain. Our family was in strict observance of “the rules” clearly detailed in 'Twas the Night before Christmas.
One Christmas, I was assured that Santa was going to bring me a new bicycle.  All of my neighborhood friends had cool bikes and we rode them everywhere.  My bicycle was a hand-me- down from one of my older cousins and the “cool” style had changed so drastically that I was in danger of losing status with my friends.  As Christmas week approached, I scoured all the usual hiding places but there was no sign of my new bicycle.  There was no way for me to glimpse this bicycle before Christmas morning and I was making myself sick with anticipation.

I developed a plan and got to work on the details.  I would get up at 2:00 AM Christmas morning and creep downstairs for an early peak.  I purchased new batteries for my flashlight and set out to buy an alarm clock!  Since mom always woke the five boys in our dormitory like bedroom each morning the only alarm clock in the house was next to her bed.  I found a clock at a local store and went to the bank to withdraw the $4.25 needed.  I had carefully saved my birthday and allowance money over the years and had nearly $25 in my savings account, this purchase was worth tapping those sacred funds.

On Christmas Eve, I carefully set the alarm and placed it under my pillow.  I knew that if the alarm woke my four brothers I would be in huge trouble so I was careful to conceal it.  On Christmas morning, as the sun came shining through our bedroom window, my little brothers woke me and told me to hurry downstairs, Santa had come, hurry up!  What?  I pulled the alarm clock from under my pillow and inspected it carefully.  I realized that through the night the weight of my head on the pillow must have accidentally pushed in the stop button....or hmm…could mom have foiled my secret plan? Regardless, I shot down the stairs consuming four steps at a time only to be the last to arrive.  My new bicycle gleamed in front of the tree, along with piles of other presents. What joy my parents had to see the look on my face as I saw the gift for the first time.  This was one of the best Christmas mornings of my childhood.  Later I was told that Grandpa had hidden the bicycle in his basement and brought it over after we had gone to bed.

This Christmas, I will be happy with a shirt and a sweater, I will also be thrilled to watch my grandchildren open their gifts.  Along with you, I will also remember the first Christmas when there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” 

On a personal note, I rememer that Christmas well.  I also got a bike that Christmas.  I remember that it was a cold Christmas morning, but Tom and I did not care.  We were outside riding our bikes on "The Court" with great abandon.  It's amazing how little I remember of Christmas gifts past -- but not that Christmas!


  1. What a great Christmas story! I hope Christmas 2011 proves to be another happy one for your family too x

  2. Brought tears to my eyes and memories of both giving and receiving the perfect gift. Great story.


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