Monday, December 19, 2016

The Christmas Train by Thomas S. Monson, Illustrated by Dan Burr

I watched the windup engine make its labored way around the track and saw Mark's face beaming.  I felt a supreme joy, difficult to describe and impossible to forget.  

When Thomas S. Monson, the current President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was a little boy, he desperately wanted an electric train for Christmas.  His family had more than many other families and he was delighted to get what he  his much longed for train set.  His mother had purchased a windup train set for Tommy's neighbor Mark.  When he inspected the set, he saw a train car that he wanted.  He knew his powerful train would easily pull it along with the other cars.  His mother allowed him to keep the car, but when they arrived at Mark's home, Tommy realized that the train car was truly meant to bring someone else joy.  He learned that Christmas was more about giving than getting.

This book stood our to me this year because I have a little guy who would sure love a train set for Christmas.  (He's getting one.)  Even though the book is a bit long for Joshua's age, he loves to read it and look at the pictures.  I keep reminding him that it is important to help all kids have presents on Christmas. 

There are moments in every person's life where getting seems far more important than giving.  We think that adding a metaphorical train to our collection is more important than ensuring that someone else has a bit of joy in their life.  I view Thomas S. Monson as a pinnacle of unselfish behavior, and it is great to see how the seed was planted early in his life. 

My favorite quote of Christmas 2016 comes from President Monson.  "Christmas is the spirit of giving, without a thought of giving."

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