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Joseph F. Smith
Joseph F. Smith remembered one Christmas holiday when there was not even a dollar to buy anything for Christmas. By now he was the father with young children. He was working at the Church tithing office from 6 am until 11 pm each day, for which he received three dollars per day in tithing pay. This meant he could go to the tithing store and exchange his pay for flour or meat or molasses. At least the family had food.
He described how he felt that holiday as he longed to provide his family with a wonderful Christmas: “I left the old home with feelings I cannot describe. I wanted to do something for my chicks [children]. I wanted something to please them, and to mark the Christmas day from all other days – but not a cent to do it with! I walked up and down Main Street, looking into the shop windows – into Amussen’s jewelry store, into every store – everywhere – and then slunk out of sight of humanity and sat down and wept like a child, until my poured-out grief relieved my aching heart; and after a while returned home, as empty as when I left, and played with my children, grateful and happy only for them.”
After these trials Elder Smith says that his way became easier. Through hard work he prospered and was finally able to keep Christmas the way he wanted to. But he never forgot his Christmases of want, when he gave his children the greatest gifts any father could give – his love and his time.
Joseph F. Smith, “Christmas and New Year,” 266-67.
Laura Willes, “Christmas with the Prophets,” p. 63-64