The Angel Tree/ Parable of the CD player ; A True Story of Hope
The Angel Tree : The Parable of the Compact Disc Player
The Angel Tree : The Parable of the Compact Disc Player
A True Story of Faith By Shelly Jackson
It was going to be the worst Christmas ever, I knew before the first ornament box was put out for display in the department store. My husband had unexpectedly left our family months before and I was struggling to keep the roof over our heads. Christmas would be tough. After rearranging bills there would be maybe $50.00 to spend on my three sons. Never in my life, had there been so little money for Christmas. I stayed up at night making a few gifts so that the space under the tree would not be so bare. The feelings of loneliness and despair crept in continuously, as I knew the boys would not look back on this Christmas with pleasant memories. They were feeling the loss of our family and the days were sad at best.
My oldest son Justin, who was 16 at the time, had come to me weeks before and told me that he did not want anything for Christmas. Justin had always been sensitive to our situation and I was sure he knew that I did not have any money. He told me to spend what ever money I had, on his brothers. This display of love was extraordinary in from someone so young and I was thankful for Justin’s generous sacrifice. My middle son Tristan was only 9 years old and he was oblivious to our situation. Numerous times Tristan mentioned that he wanted a portable CD player for Christmas. Fortunately for me, this particular item had dropped in price and I would be able to afford it with the money I scraped together.
The week before Christmas with the boys in tow, I entered a local super store to pick up a few food items. Just after I walked through the door, anxiety came on suddenly, as I saw the Angel Tree. It had always been a family tradition to go to this store and pick tags off the tree and then buy gifts for those children in need. For a moment I wondered if it would have been a good idea to have found out how those names got there and add my children to the list. Within the time it took to have that thought, my children ran toward the Angel Tree and a second thought hit me, the boys had no idea how bad things were, I knew at that moment they were going to ask to buy things for the children from the Angel Tree. If I was worried before, I was terrified now.
As quickly as I could, I caught up with my sons. The youngest Jerry was only 6, he really did not understand the meaning of the tree, and to him it was just another Christmas tree. My oldest son gave me a look of horror, knowing what was going to happen next. Tristan ran frantically around the Angel Tree glancing from tag to tag, looking for something. At that moment someone from our church walked up and engaged me in a conversation. She asked me what we were up to and when I turned back around there was my Tristan holding a tag. He was grinning from ear to ear “Look mom I found it”. I replied “Found what, honey?”. His exuberance was overwhelming “This boy wants the same thing I want for Christmas, so I choose this one”. My friend was still standing in front of me but, quickly excused herself.
I bent down slightly and told Tristan “Honey, we can’t afford to do the Angel Tree this year, If we buy a CD player for this child, I will not be able to get one for you”. Tristan’s tilted his and then he looked me right in the eye “Mom, I don’t need anything, can we please buy the CD player for this kid”. Every parent should have moments of complete pride in their child the way I did that day. I agreed that if he wanted to give up his gift for this child we would do so. It was through teary eyes that I helped him pick out a CD player and a CD. We took those items to the desk where the toys were to be turned in for the Angel Tree. I let Tristan give them to the woman behind the counter. He was beaming as he said “Here is the tag and the gift”. The woman smiled and said “Wow, Thank you” she turned slightly and said “You are our first donation this year”.
Tristan was proud to have been the first donation that year. He did not seem the least bit concerned that he was not going to get his CD player. We went to visit my brother’s family for Christmas Eve that year. They got Tristan got a CD player for Christmas. Christmas morning we came home and someone had left gifts on our door for all of us and Tristan received another CD player. Later Christmas day we opened gifts and Tristan received CD player from me. I was able to use a gift card I received from my company to buy him and Justin gifts. Later that night Tristan’s father dropped off a gift for him; you guessed it …a new CD player.
Tristan ended up with four CD players that year, he gave one to his little brother, and one to his friend. Ever since then we have referred to this story as the parable of the CD player. Tristan is 14 now and he has maintained that the CD player Christmas was one of the best Christmases ever. What you give, you will truly receive and this I learned from the good heart of a small boy who was willing to sacrifice for someone he never met. Merry Christmas!
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