The hope and prayer of President James E. Faust during the annual First Presidency Christmas devotional was that "sacred memories of happy holiday times . . . will be repeated for each of us this season. . . ."
"As the years pass," he continued, "special memories are often more of happenings than of things. I say this because many of my happy childhood memories occurred during the difficult economic times of the Great Depression. The extraordinary unselfishness brought out in people unforgettable concern for others."
President Faust recalled how an uncle who had a job working for the railroad sent his uncashed paycheck to his grandfather to meet the needs of the family. Upon his return from his mission, President Faust was told by his Uncle Jim of an exceptional young lady who gave her mother money out of her paycheck to pay for her mother's mortgage on the home.
"If I had not married that special young lady," President Faust said, "I think my Uncle Jim would have wanted to."
President Faust related the experience of the Card family with their eight children living in Canada during the 1930s. It was a frigid winter that year, causing the Card family to close off all the house except the bathroom, kitchen and dining room, which was heated by a meager coal-burning stove.
Lincoln Card, then eight years old, described how 10 "limp, well-worn stockings" hung on a rope his older brothers stretched across the kitchen.
The eldest brother, Brigham, was away from home working on a government highway project high in the Rocky Mountains of southern Alberta. He sent his earnings home to his father to help the family survive "the stranglehold of financial depression."
That Christmas morning, " 'From the corner of my eye, I noticed Father open a plain, wrapped, small gift,' " Brother Card wrote. " 'Tears began to dazzle his eyes.' "
His father left the room, then soon reappeared. In a composed and gentle voice, he called for the attention of the children. He explained that Brigham, who had no money for presents, gave as his gift a small Scout diary that included the letters "GT" on each day's entry, signifying the doing of some good turn that day.
Brother Card's father said this was " 'the greatest Christmas gift that I have ever received.' "
"We are each the agents of our Father in Heaven to do Christlike deeds for all His Father's children," President Faust said in closing.