Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

The Gift of Charity

“…and it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace,that they might have charity…”

(D&C 135:5, quoting Ether)

My thoughts are full of charity.

That’s what happens at Christmas.  So much giving to be done.  So much loving like Christ would if He were here.

This year we are trying something different.

Several weeks ago I sent each of my kids a text…

Instead of picking the sub for Santa for our family this year like I usually do, I wanted them to have the opportunity to see with eyes of charity ––to discover for themselves someone who was in need this season.

And then to act upon that discovery.

Each of them was to find their own person to give a gift to.  Someone in need.  Whether financially, spiritually, or physically.

Tonight in Family Home Evening we talked about who they had found and what they thought they might do for that person.  It was amazing to see them learning the gift of charity.  I loved seeing the realization unfold as we talked.

It’s more than just seeing the need.

It’s acting upon it.

When I think of charity I am reminded of a woman named Valerie Hawkins.

My favorite quality of hers is that somehow she knows what to do before you even think to ask.

When my father served as the Mission President of the California Ventura Misison, Sister Hawkin’s husband served as a Stake President.  I will never forget two Zone Conference my father held the first Christmas we were on our mission.

President Hawkin’s Stake was in charge of the first day, and another Stake was in charge of the second day.

When we showed up to the Stake where President Hawkins presided we knew immediately a lot of time had been put into making sure the missionaries knew they were loved.  Instead of lasagna, the staple meal of every zone conference, the women in this Stake had prepared ham, potatoes, and salads ––it was a real Christmas dinner.

To top it off, Sister Hawkins had baked hand made Christmas sugar cookies, which were each carefully decorated.  There was one plate for every companionship to take back to their apartment when they left.

As my parents prepared to leave Sister Hawkins met my mom at the door.  My mom told her, “This was so nice, I wish the missionaries we will see tomorrow were going to be this spoiled.  Thank you for taking such good care of us.”

The next morning, early, just as we were leaving for the next conference my mom received a phone call.

It was Sister Hawkins asking if we could stop by her house on their way to the conference that would be held that day.

When we arrived at her home the entire family was waiting there.  They had stayed up all night baking and decorating home made sugar cookies for the missionaries who would be at the other conference that day.

Sister Hawkins wanted to make sure that they, too, would feel spoiled.

Sister Hawkins is a woman who knows what it means to have charity.   She is sincere, and serves with purity of intent and a lot of love in her heart.

Her efforts are prayerful.

Her giving is not obscure or unusual, it is not meant to impress.

Her service is humble, and because of that she is one who is able to do much good as an instrument in the hands of the Lord.

She has learned the gift of charity.

She sees the need and then She acts upon it.

Emily Freeman