A Christmas Story About Giving
“Mom, do you think $8.17 is enough to buy Susie a bicycle?”
Timmy looked over the breakfast table at his Mother, anxiously awaiting an answer. Mrs. Thomas was a bit flustered by this request. Timmy was protective of his little sister, Susie. Yesterday Susie had tried to ride Timmy’s bike, but it was a little too tall for her. She had fallen off and scraped her knee. This had upset Timmy – perhaps more than Mrs. Thomas had realized.
“Timmy, Christmas is coming. I think Santa Claus will bring Susie her very own bike. It’s on his list.”
“Really?” said Timmy. “Do you know what’s on Santa’s list for me?
“Actually, I do.” Timmy’s eyes lit up. “But,” said Mrs. Thomas, grinning as she put her finger to her lips, “it’s a surprise.”
“Oh,” said Timmy with disappointment in his voice. He hesitated, then said, “I counted out my money in my piggy bank. It was $8.17. Do you think I could buy Susie and Billy presents with that much?”
Mrs. Thomas thought before she answered. “Timmy, I think it’s very sweet of you to think about buying presents for your sister and brother. However, I don’t think your $8.17 will go very far for presents.” Timmy’s face fell. Mrs. Thomas continued. “How about if I give you a little extra to help your kindness out? Say $20.00? We could go shopping tomorrow – just you and me so your presents will be a surprise for Susie and Billy.”
Timmy’s face brightened, “Oh, Mom, you’re the best! I can’t wait!” With that, he ran off into the playroom.
All the rest of the day, Mrs. Thomas noticed Timmy carefully observing Billy playing with his train set and Susie playing with her dolls and toy animals.
The next day, Timmy and his Mother set off for the local store. Under the watchful eye of Mrs. Thomas, Timmy roamed the shelves of the toy department. First, picking out an expensive train set for Billy. Then, his Mother had to tell him the disappointing news that the present would take much more money than he had.
He picked out a chemistry set next, then a toy robot. Each time he would look at his Mother, and she would shake her head and mouth, “Too much money.”
At this point, Mrs. Thomas heard her name and turned to see Reverend Piper. “Hello there, are you shopping for toys, too, Rev. Piper?”
The Reverend was the pastor of their church. “Yes, I was trying to find some toys for the children on our Angel tree. So many little boys and girls will not get any toys this Christmas if we don’t help Santa out, you know.” He winked at Mrs. Thomas as he nodded toward Timmy.
“Oh, that’s so nice of you. May I give you some extra money to help you pay for those purchases?” She ruffled through her purse and found a twenty-dollar bill, which she gave to Rev. Piper. She looked carefully in her wallet to find two ten-dollar bills. She bit her lip and whispered something to Rev. Piper, and they exchanged the twenty-dollar bill for the two ten-dollar bills.
Rev. Piper approached Timmy. “Are you looking for something in particular, Timmy?”
Timmy nodded and told Rev. Piper his plan to get his sister and brother gifts with his $28.17, but so far found everything very expensive – more than he could afford.
Rev. Piper told Timmy he was planning to get gifts for children that would otherwise not get gifts at Christmas.
Timmy looked at Rev. Piper with big eyes. “Have they been bad all year long? Is that why they are not getting presents?”
Rev. Piper hesitated, then, with his hands held behind his back, crossed his fingers, and said. “No, no, it’s just that some children’s families aren’t as blessed as your family Timmy. So Santa has asked that I provide them with some toys.” He quickly changed the subject. “What are you giving to Susie and Billy?”
Timmy sighed, “Well, Susie like dolls and stuffed animals. Yesterday she said she wanted to become a vet … vet-train-e-um when she grows up.”
“Oh, a veterinarian? An animal doctor?”
With tears in his eyes, Timmy nodded his head and said, “And Billy loves trains, but everything is too expensive.”
Rev. Piper placed his finger alongside his nose and said. “Oh, come with me. I think I saw something that might work, and they weren’t very expensive.” Rev. Piper led Timmy down the aisle to a bin of toys. It was marked $8.99. He rummaged around and found just what he wanted – a brightly colored, red, blue, and black train engine that was a wind-up toy! “Here, try it out and see if Billy would like it.”
Timmy placed it on the floor and wound the big metal key. The train chugged along on the floor and went all the way to where Timmy’s Mother stood!
Timmy clapped his hands and said, “Oh, Mommy! Won’t Billy like this? And it’s just $8.99!”
“I think it’s wonderful, Timmy. Of course, Billy would be pleased with that! Have you found anything for Susie yet?”
“Not yet, but we are still looking.” Timmy took Rev. Piper’s hand, and together they walked over to the girl’s toys and began looking. Timmy spied a small basket with a pretend cat lying inside and many extra toys for the cat wrapped in cellophane, but it was too expensive. Finally, they came across a shelf marked half-price. There sat the perfect gift for Susie – a Pet Care set with a plush dog and accessories like a play stethoscope, bandages, and several other things to take care of a sick pet friend. The cute set was just $10.99.
Rev. Piper took out his phone and added how much it would cost Timmy to purchase both the train and the pet set. “Let’s see, $8.99 plus 10.99 equals …” He punched a button. “Just $19.98 and seven cents percent tax would be $1.40. That would equal $21.39, and you have how much to spend?”
“$28.17”, Said Timmy and his Mother simultaneously.
“Ah, that leaves you $6.78, just enough to get wrapping paper and ribbon to wrap the toys.” Rev. Piper said.
Timmy pulled at Rev. Piper’s coat. “I think we have those things at home. Instead, will you take the rest of my money to buy presents for the children that aren’t as blessed as me?”
Rev. Piper’s face broke into a wide smile. “…Out of the mouth of babes … Timmy, I think you have found the true meaning of Christmas – that giving is a whole lot more fun than receiving. If we give freely – and with love – our gifts are readily appreciated. When we give to others, we pay tribute to the gift of the Baby Jesus to mankind.”
Rev. Piper looked up at Mrs. Thomas. “I think I have found the makings of a good Christmas sermon. Thank you, Timmy!”
Timmy blushed, and his cheeks shone as red as Christmas cranberries!