'Christmas Spirit' book excerpt: Woman received gift of music one Christmas season

By Michele Ashman Bell

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13 2012 2:05 p.m. MST

“Honey?” her husband said through the screen door. “Are you OK? I heard a clatter. What's ..."

His mouth dropped open as he opened the door and stepped onto the porch. “Where? What? Who?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “You didn’t do this?”

“No. Not that I don’t wish I could have,” he said. “It wasn’t me though.”

“Do you think it’s ours?”

He started to laugh. “Well, I’m guessing since it’s on our doorstep it is.”

“Really? You do?”

He nodded.

Fresh tears erupted, and she dared to run her fingers along the smooth wood that glistened with the falling snow.

“I think we’d better get it inside before it gets ruined,” he said.

“Yes,” she said quietly. “I think so too.”

With the help of their oldest two children, who were also unaware of who had given such an amazing gift, they managed to move the piano up the two steps and wheel it into the living room where she’d always kept a spot open, just in case ....

“Who do you think did this?” her son Ben asked.

“I can’t believe someone would just give us a piano,” the oldest daughter, Amanda, remarked.

“This is like a Christmas miracle,” the youngest daughter, Cassie, said. “Play something, Mom.”

“Yeah, Mom,” Ben said, “play a Christmas song.”

Not even needing a song book, Angela sat down on the bench and closed her eyes. It was real. She was really sitting in front of a piano in her own home.

She began to play the sweet melody of the song; then, as the verse started up again, David began to sing in his beautiful tenor voice. On the next verse, the children joined, and on the third verse, Angela sang with them.

How silently, how silently,

The wondrous gift is giv’n!

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of his heav’n.

No ear may hear his coming;

But in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive him, still

The dear Christ enters in.

Angela knew there was no way she could ever thank whoever had gone to the time, expense, and trouble of giving such a gift.

But knowing someone out there cared enough to do something this wonderful helped her know she would spend the rest of her life treating everyone as though they had been the ones to do it.

Other than her family and the gospel, no other gift could have meant as much as the gift of music.

Here are more Christmas experiences from Mormon authors:

"Lt. Shumway survived hate and despair on Guadalcanal to find love, light, hope and joy" by Shawn D. Moon

"Finding Jesus in the nativity" by Emily Freeman

"Finding Christmas bliss" by Lisa Mangum

"The kitty cat Christmas" by Karen Tuft

"Discovering the gift of giving" by Josi Kilpack

Michele Ashman Bell is the author of the Butterfly Box trilogy and the short story "Christmas in Bliss."

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