9th Day Christmas Past Question and Story

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Christmas Past 2016 | 17 comments

Untitled-2On the 9th Day of Christmas Past, the question is to be –

Question:  Why did Elder Perry enjoy hearing “You Are My Sunshine” on Christmas Eve?

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Elder Perry – Sunshine in an Orphanage

Many years ago I found myself as part of occupation troops in a foreign land just at the end of a terrible war. It was not long after we arrived in this country before we developed a great love and concern for the people we were there to watch over. This was especially true of the young people, the children. Many times we would find them scavenging in our garbage cans looking for food to keep themselves alive. This deeply touched us, and we wanted to make a more substantial contribution to them. We raised what money we could and found a local religious group that was willing to open an orphanage for them. We donated as much time as possible to improve the facilities and provided them with the operating funds they needed.

Elder L. Tom Perry

As Christmas approached, we sent letters home to our families asking that, instead of sending gifts to us, they send toys for the children in the orphanage. The response of our families was overwhelming! Toys arrived daily from our homes.

We found a tree suitable to use as a Christmas tree, but we had no traditional decorations for it. A lady taught us how to make little birds by folding square pieces of paper, and these became the major part of the decorations for the tree. The presents were wrapped mostly in discarded Stars and Stripes newspapers. I’ll never forget Christmas Eve with those children. I am sure many of them had never seen a Christmas tree in their lives.

We sang Christmas carols to them, but we weren’t very good at this. They had been rehearsing for weeks so they could sing a song to us in English. It was not a Christmas carol, but it was beautiful. They sang “You Are My Sunshine.” We were deeply touched with the spirit of the children that Christmas Eve, especially as they opened the presents sent from our families. I suppose some of them had not had a toy in many, many years.

This is a Christmas I’ll never forget because we were learning the true meaning of this great holiday season. The greatest joy we can receive in life is giving—to bring into the life of someone else a little joy and happiness.

(Taken from an article in the December 1988 New Era.)



  1. Because the children learned how to sing the song You Are My Sunshine in English for the shoulders on Christmas Eve. They had practiced it and were able to sing it. He learned the best Christmas is one of giving.

  2. It was a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and the experiences of helping less fortunate children after a horrible war.

  3. You are my sunshine is such a great song. If you think of the sun being the son of god the song has a deeper meaning. What a great Christmas they gave to those children. I am sure they will never forget it.

  4. It reminds him of a humble experience he had at the end of the was where the troops worked to give Christmas to children in an orphanage the children there learned it in English to sang to them

  5. “You are my sunshine” was sung beautifully by orphans that he and other soldiers helped. Elder Perry felt the true meaning of Christmas.

  6. The children in the orphanage had learned to sing it in English as a gift for the soldiers. A fitting song for celebrating the birth of the Light of the World.

  7. The soldiers were probably thrilled with the fact that the children had practiced so hard to learn a song that reminded them of home. Not only did it remind them of home but also of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ who is known as the Light of the World. I would guess that many mixed feelings, feelings that we don’t forget, filled the hearts of those men on that Christmas day.

  8. Elder Perry was touched by hearing the children sing, because they had so little, yet they were sharing the spirit of Christmas by singing to the troops. I am always touched when I hear stories of children. They have such sweet spirits and are (usually) willing to please. I love to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to my grandchildren and great grandchildren, because they are the sunshine in my life.

  9. This is a sweet story. These children in a country recovering from war, had nothing. They received presents from the families of seevicemen. The children practiced singing in English not a Christmas song but You Are My Sunshine. Sweet.. no wonder it is a memorable song for Elder Perry.

  10. The song touched his heart so much when the children learned it for them.

  11. The children in the orphanage were so great full for the loving and giving hearts of Elder Perry that they sang the only song they had practiced, in English,to tell Bro. perry of ther gratefulness, which was You Are My Sunshine.

  12. Elder Perry found himself as part of occupation troops in a foreign land at the end of a terrible war. After helping the local children find a home through a religious group that was willing to open an orphanage for them. He and his comrades asked their families to send toys for the children. Elder Perry enjoy hearing “You Are My Sunshine”, because the children learned it in English to thank them for everything.

  13. To show their thanks to Elder Perry and his friends for everything they did. The children sang “You Are My Sunshine.” in English. It may not have been a Christmas carol, but he learned true meaning of this great holiday season. Giving and bringing a little joy and happiness to others.

  14. What a lovely story

  15. They wanted to express their love to a wonderful man of God.

  16. The children sang “you are my sunshine”, a song they had learned in English to sing for the soldiers who offered them so much.

  17. Because he and other soldiers watched over little children in a war torn country. They helped them get an orphanage and asked their families to send the children toys instead of gifts for the soldiers. They made christmas so special for the children. In turn, the children worked very hard to learn a song for the soldiers in English. It was “You are my sunshine”. After that, Elder Perry loved that song and the memories it brought back to his heart.

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