By Nichole Giles
Dee and Sam were doing a little Christmas shopping in an outlet mall. A light, steady snow fell as they walked from store to store, in search of a small pair of snow pants for a grandson coming to visit. It was two weeks until Christmas, and the couple’s daughter and her family would be flying in from Texas to complete the family circle in the holiday celebrations. They wanted nothing more than to be prepared to enjoy every minute of family time.
Sam held the door for Dee as they bustled into a familiar children’s clothing store. Dee scoured the store for the snow pants, and having no luck turned to leave and head to the next store. As she walked past the cash register, she noticed a small tree filled with paper cutouts all over it. A sign next to it read, “Angel Tree.”
Dee paused, noticing how full the tree was and how many needy children remained “un-picked” from the tree. She asked a clerk, “Why is your angel tree still so full?”
“The economy is slow this year,” replied the young woman, sadly. “A lot of people who might usually help others are feeling the strain themselves.”
Something heavy turned over in Dee’s heart. Taking Sam’s hand, Dee removed three little ornaments from the tree and together they filled the simple requests for jackets, shoes, and a pair of warm pajamas.
When Dee put the items on the counter, she set the ornaments on top of each one as she pulled out her wallet to pay. When she looked up to see the total, she noticed a tear running down the clerk’s cheek. “Why are you crying?” Dee asked.
The girl picked up the ornament Dee had placed on a pair of size three, blue, fleece pajamas and said, “I know this little boy. He’s two-years-old, and his mother is young and single. She tries her best to provide for him, but it’s tough. He is so little, and the only thing he wants for Christmas is a warm pair of pajamas because he doesn’t have any.”
Dee’s hand shook as she slid her wallet back in her purse and stepped out of line. “I’ll be right back,” she whispered through tears she hadn’t even realized were falling. Once more, Dee wandered through the store, picking out another pair of pajamas—size three—a warm outfit, and a small toy. When she returned to the clerk she paid the total and asked that the items be delivered to the little boy and his mother.
As they left the store, Dee glanced back at the tree and the paper ornaments left on it.
“You can’t save the whole world, you know,” Sam said, chuckling.
“I know,” Dee said sadly. “But I can do my best to help a few people.”
“Yes,” Sam replied. “Thanks to you a little boy will have what he needs this Christmas.”
“But is it enough?” Dee wondered aloud. “There were so many angels left on that tree.”
“It has to be,” Sam replied. “We’d go broke if you tried to buy gifts for every child on every tree.”
“You’re right, Sam. All we can do is hope that other people step up and give what they can to those who need it the most.”
It is six days to Christmas. Everywhere I go Angel Trees stand full, waiting for someone to fill the small, simple requests of little angels who will otherwise do without. If you happen upon one of these trees, and if you are able to spare a little time and love, please take an ornament and fill the need of a child. Sam was right, no one person can save the world, but if all of us take a minute to help just one person, maybe there won’t be any leftover angels in our corner. What better gift could we give to our Savior?