Day 8 of our 12 days of Christmas! Can you believe Christmas is in just 4 more days?!?!? Make sure you have stocking stuffers. Time for some caroling, make goodies for neighbors if you haven’t.
Treat/gift idea: $5, dollar candy bar, hot cocoa
Christmas Gift for Jesus
Even though Pham was twelve years
old, he was about to celebrate his very first Christmas.
Pham and his family had come to the
United States during the great airlift of refugees from Vietnam. And although
many wonderful things had happened to Pham’s family since their arrival, the
most wonderful of all was when they had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of
Before then, Pham had heard about
Christmas. He had not been too sure how the Christmas holidays would be celebrated,
but he thought that they might be celebrated like Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.
During Tet everyone decorated his home with flowers, ate delicious food, and
lit fireworks. Then, when the missionaries came to teach his family about the
Church, Pham learned that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. He
never tired of hearing his teacher at church read the Christmas story. He
especially liked to hear about the Wise Men who had brought gifts to the baby
Jesus. Pham had decided that, like the Wise Men, he would give Jesus a gift.
On the Saturday before Christmas,
Pham held his little sister’s hand in his as they headed for the bus stop. He
shoved his other hand deep into his coat pocket where his fingers found and
clutched five one-dollar bills. He had worked very hard shoveling snow and
running errands to earn the money, and now he was on his way to the department
store to buy the special Christmas gift for Jesus.
Although the cold nipped at Pham’s
nose and ears as he and Kim Li got off the bus and started down the sidewalk
piled high on either side with snow, his heart was warm and he felt like
singing. Soon the singing wouldn’t stay inside, and Pham’s voice rose clear and
sweet in the cold air. He sang every Christmas carol that he knew, and people
passing turned and smiled.
Soon Pham and Kim Li reached the
department store. Its windows glittered with gold and silver tinsel and tiny
star-lights that blinked off and on. The sight was so dazzling that Pham and
Kim Li just stood in wonder for a moment.
Then, remembering his important
mission, Pham led his sister into the store and started his search for the
perfect gift for Jesus. Slowly he went up and down the long aisles, looking and
looking. Ties and socks and books and shirts and jackets were fine for his
father, but didn’t seem quite right for Jesus. Pham looked at diamonds and
watches and golden rings, but somehow even they would not have been good
enough, even if Pham had the money to buy them. Discouraged, he wondered how
the Wise Men had been able to decide on their gifts of gold and frankincense
Pham felt a tug on his sleeve.
Looking down, he saw that his little sister was very tired. Gently Pham picked
her up and gave her a hug. He carried her to the snack bar in the store and had
her sit at a table while he went to get some hot chocolate for her. It cost
fifty cents, but Pham didn’t think that Jesus would mind if he spent a little
of the money on Kim Li.
After Kim Li had finished her hot
chocolate and had rested a while, Pham decided to go to another store. On the
way they passed a crippled man begging on the sidewalk. Pham had seen many
people who were hurt and crippled during the war, and his heart went out to the
man. Before he quite realized what he was doing, Pham took a dollar from his
pocket and gave it to the beggar.
When they arrived at the second
department store, Pham again searched down every aisle, but he still couldn’t
find anything that was just right. Then he saw a little boy who was lost and
crying. Pham took the little boy to a security guard who could help find his
mother. While they were waiting, Pham bought the boy a small toy and told him
It was getting late, and Pham and
Kim Li started home without finding a gift for Jesus. They stopped for a moment
to watch a fat man with a white beard, who was dressed in a red suit. The jolly
man was ringing a bell above a pot that people dropped money into. “What is it
for?” Pham asked. When the man said that it was to buy food for the poor, Pham
put two dollars into the pot. He knew all about not having enough food.
When Pham put his hand back into
his coat pocket, he was shocked to discover that he had only one dollar left.
“What have I done?” he wondered. It was too late to earn more money, and he
couldn’t think of anything that he could buy for a dollar. Filled with
disappointment, he thought of the Wise Men and their handsome gifts. He had so
wanted to give Jesus a fine gift too! How could he ever do it now? By the time
they reached home, great tears were sliding down Pham’s cheeks.
“What’s the matter?” his mother
asked as she gently held his tear-streaked face. Pham told her about how he had
wanted to give a gift to Jesus as the Wise Men had and about how he had spent
nearly all his money and still didn’t have a gift.
“Oh, but you do!” his mother said,
a tender smile lighting her face. “You have already given Him the only gift
that He really wants—the love in your heart!”
“It is true that I have love, but
how have I given Him that?” Pham asked, puzzled.
“Don’t you see?” his mother said
gently. “You have given love today to Kim Li, to the crippled man, to the
little boy, to the poor for food. Oh, Pham, you have given richly! Don’t you remember
that Jesus said, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matt. 25:10)? Pham, you have given Jesus
the finest gift of all!”
Pham’s eyes began to shine with
joy. He took the remaining dollar from his pocket. “I will give this to the
bishop,” he said. “Maybe it will help a missionary teach others about Jesus and