ONCE UPON A TIME NOT TO LONG AGO, there was a young boy who lived in a small town, not to far from where you might live. He was a rotten little child who thought of no one but himself and always had to get his way. He didn’t like Christmas very much, mostly because he had to wait too long to get his presents. He, let’s call him Tyler, wasn’t much of a people person either. And spending time with the less fortunate-forget it! So when his mom and dad and a few others went out to the homeless shelters, or to the orphanages, he just sat in the car with his Game Boy and waited for them to get done.
ONE NIGHT, HIS MOM AND DAD and their friends were going to a Christmas party for the kids at a local orphanage. He was near furious. They didn’t know when they would be back, so he had to go along with them. He tried to talk them into calling a babysitter, but they were sick of him being stubborn, selfish, and rude so they made him go with them. His dad promised him that if he didn’t at least pretend he was having fun there would be no Christmas. Tyler had no choice but to go, and this time he couldn’t just sit in the car. This would be a whole evening of pain and agony for him. In hopes of nullifying his pain, he decided to slip his Game Boy into his pocket as backup.
WHEN THEY GOT THERE, Tyler’s mom and dad had him help set up, and while he was setting up the chairs and Christmas decorations he had to endure an unending evening of compliments such as “What a nice young man,” and things like, “You’re awfully nice to come down and help.” He responded to all of their compliments the same way: by giving the most sarcastic smile you’ve ever seen, and saying in the most discourteous way he could, “Why thank you!” But his night of endless torture had only just begun. Next, he would have to spend the rest of the night dealing with 31 little brats that had never seen a gaming system in their life.
SO FINALLY THE KIDS WERE BROUGHT IN. Their ages ranged from 4 to 12 years old, but most of them were about 7 or 8. As they walked in, they were surprised to see the feast awaiting them. It was as if they had never seen that much food in their lives. They all sat down, quickly but politely, and proceeded to say prayer; before anyone touched the food. They then went around the table, and one by one said what they were most thankful for. Tyler couldn’t believe it! They had all of the food in the country in front of them because of him and his mom and dad, but they all had the nerve to thank God! He just figured that it was the hunger talking.
FINALLY, THEY WERE READY TO EAT. With the help of Tyler’s mom and dad and their friends, they passed the dishes up and down the table, each person taking no more than what he or she was going to eat. And after they were done they all went into the next room to find no one other than Santa. He had his big red bag and was ready to take orders. Tyler was ready to burst out laughing. Couldn’t they tell that Santa was just his dad with a pillow in his shirt? As he watched some more, he noticed something he didn’t see before. Every single kid that sat on Santa’s lap went away with a present. As each kid opened up his or her present, Tyler noticed that they didn’t quite care what it was they got. It was just the fact that they got something from someone who, ”just maybe,” he thought, cared about them enough to get them anything. Suddenly, Tyler became sick to his stomach. He didn’t know why. Figuring his mom might take him home he decided to go tell her. When he told her she replied, “It’s called caring.” Tyler didn’t understand what she meant so he decided to go lay down and play his Game Boy.
WHILE HE WAS PLAYING, A BOY CAME OVER TO WATCH HIM. Tyler asked him what he wanted, real snotty-like, and the boy replied in a nice, soft manner, “Your mom told me that I could come play with you.” “Well, I don’t have anything for you to play with so go play somewhere else,” he replied. Then the boy looked at him curiously and asked, “Can I play with your game?” Tyler looked up to tell him to go away again when he saw his mom glaring at him from across the room, so he handed it over. Then Tyler’s mom introduced them to each other. “Tyler, this is Brice,” she began. “He’s 10, only a year younger than you are. Now you two play nice,” she said, with emphasis on the nice part for Tyler. As she walked away, Brice gave Tyler back his Game Boy saying it was busted. Alarmed, Tyler looked at it finding it was only out of batteries.
SO NOW THE TWO BOYS WERE LEFT WITH NOTHING TO DO BUT TALK, an uneasy situation for Tyler. So he started out by asking Brice what Santa brought him. He replied in a pleasant tone of voice “I got a little toy airplane.” Tyler noticed Brice did not have anything in his hands and asked where the plane was. “I let Stephen play with it. He really likes planes,” Brice said as he pointed to Stephen, and young little boy sitting near the corner of the room. Tyler looked over and saw the small boy with two planes, chasing one with the other. Tyler became confused, so he went over to get something to drink and asked his mom what she thought. Not even the least bit surprised, she told him that Brice has always given his toy to another little kid. Tyler was now beyond the point of confusion and went straight to bedazzlement. Why would you give your toys away? He went back over to the kid to ask him some more questions.
FIRST HE ASKED HIM WHY HE GAVE HIS PRESENTS AWAY. The boy replied, “I gave my plane to Stephen because he can’t have a dog fight with only one plane.” “So you’re going to get it back from him later, right,” Tyler questioned? Brice was surprised to hear anyone asking such dumb questions. “I don’t expect to get the toy back, and I don’t really care if I ever get to see it again,” Brice started to explain, “I just want to see Stephen and everyone else here as happy as they can be.” Tyler looked at him with awe. “It just makes me feel better to see the others happy, instead of getting a cool toy for Christmas.” Tyler couldn’t believe what he was hearing. How could it possibly be better to give all your presents away, rather than to get those really neat things? That was a question that Tyler toiled with the whole way home, and all night long.
THE NEXT MORNING WAS THE DAY THAT TYLER HAD BEEN WAITING FOR ALL YEAR, Christmas! He woke up, pulled his mom and dad out of bed, and ran downstairs. His mom and dad went into the kitchen to get themselves some hot tea. While they were wasting their time in the kitchen, Tyler was heading straight for the tree. When he got to the living room door where the Christmas tree stood, he stopped in awe at all the presents he had this year…even though they had bought all those gifts for the orphans… He then began to think about what Brice had told him the day before. He pushed that out of his mind and ran for the first present. His mom and dad came in and sat on the couch so they could watch their little “bundle of joy.”
TYLER OPENED THE FIRST PRESENT, which was wrapped in paper that had tons of little Santa’s and Elves on it. It was a remote control car that could be used in the snow and rain, or it could be driven through puddles and over rocks. It had a real working horn, and a double life, already fully charged battery pack. It was exactly what Tyler had wanted. Yet as suddenly as he found it, Tyler lost all the joy that came from opening that present. He started to feel strange and could hear the words Brice had said, which shocked Tyler and kept him up all night. His parents were expecting to hear him complain that it wasn’t the right one or some nonsense like that. Tyler simply turned around slowly and asked his parents, “Mom… dad… can we do something different this year?”
AT THE ORPHANAGE, while all the kids were sitting at their Christmas breakfast, the door bell rang. This was very strange to have anyone come at this time of day, and on Christmas especially. The lady that owned the place opened the door and heard a frightening “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” It was Tyler and his mom and dad. They had brought all of Tyler’s Christmas presents to the orphanage to give them to the kids. All of the kids were crowding around as Tyler and his mom and dad handed them out one by one, until every kid had one… every kid except Brice. Tyler walked over to him with a big box in his hands. He sat the box down and said with the most joy he ever had, “You were right. It does feel better to give instead of receiving.” He then told Brice that the present was his, and he was not allowed to give this one away. “This present is yours,” Tyler explained, “because you have a gift I won’t find in a million years. These kids are having the most wonderful Christmas because you have a pure heart.”
TYLER CONTINUED TO SPREAD JOY as he revealed to Brice what his Christmas present was this year. It is the one thing that Tyler knows he really, really wants. It is the perfect present; one that will need constant attention, yet one from which Tyler hopes to learn so much. This perfect present isn’t exactly that easy to come by, which is why Tyler knows he will take care of it. Brice doesn’t mean to be rude, but he really wants to know what in the world could be so special. Tyler looks at him and says, “you.” Brice is shocked beyond words and the whole orphanage gathers around to hear the good news. Tyler’s mom and dad have decided to adopt Brice.