Friday, December 26, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas

I've been working on this post all month and still haven't got it right. This is such a simple little story, but it means a lot to me. So from the files of better-late-than-never, enjoy:

"I have nothing to look forward to for two weeks."

I plopped down on the couch in despair. It was Sunday evening in early December, and Mark had just informed me that in order to finish his final papers for his master's degree, he'd have to work round the clock until the last day of the semester. In two weeks, we'd drive home for Christmas and I'd be surrounded by family and decorations and everything festive and fun. But until then, I was in our shabby little apartment, taking care of a baby all by myself. We'd lived in Logan, Utah, for only a few months, and I hadn't been successful in making friends or figuring out what to do with myself as a mother. Sometimes our attic apartment felt like a tower prison. I could look down from above and see everyone else coming and going, but I was isolated, with nowhere to go, no one to talk to. And now not even my husband would be around.

"I have nothing to look forward to for two weeks," I thought as I plopped on the couch. In the grand scheme of global tragedies, I knew this wouldn’t even register. But those two weeks stretched before me like a desert wasteland.

At the very moment--my unspoken words still hanging in the air, Mark still walking from the living room back to his computer--I heard a knock on the door.

I heard Mark open the door, then I heard him chuckle. He walked into the room carrying a tiny Christmas tree and a note. Someone was doing the 12 Days of Christmas for us.

The tree was fake. It was small. But it was covered in bows and balls and lights. When I plugged it in, the room filled with a festive glow. Suddenly I did have something to look forward to--every day. Each night we heard a knock and found something perched on our step. One day, a tape of Christmas music, which I listened to nonstop. Another day, mugs and cocoa mix. Nothing was big or expensive, but enough to let me feel the joy of Christmas. Little Roscoe and I organized our days around those little gifts.

From the moment Mark opened the door, we knew who it was. The Aumans. A family that, charmed by the immeasurable cuteness of little Roscoe, had taken us under their wing. A family with a truly Christian commitment to living the gospel and helping others. The Aumans probably knew that we had no family or money or Christmas tree. Maybe they even suspected I was lonely. But they had no way of knowing that the very moment they knocked on our door was my moment of need.

But as I got to know Sister Auman in the coming years, I learned that she is a person who dedicates her life to identifying and filling others’ needs. Once in a Sunday lesson, I heard her explain that she prays each morning that Heavenly Father will let her know who she can help that day.

Elder Bednar says that the “tender mercies of the Lord” are “personal and timely message of comfort and reassurance.” I believe that the Aumans delivered to me, at the very moment I needed it, a message of comfort from my Heavenly Father.


  1. I love this story!
    I remember visiting you in that apt and you had made your own peppermint patties. Could that be?


  2. I would love to be like that wonderful sister. She is a hero in disguise.

  3. What a neat story. What a difference each of us could make if we would pray each morning to find someone to help that day. What an example of charity.

  4. Awww. I can totally see feeling a little trapped in that apartment. That story should be submitted to the Ensign. You got mad skills, Ang.

  5. We had a similar experience with a family like that the year my mom died. I have yet to become that person for someone else which I just realized when I read your touching story. Thanks for the reminder and maybe we will get to it next year...

  6. So sweet! What a great memory to carry.