An Older Brother’s Gift
It was the Christmas season of 1994. Nine-year-old Jaron and his six-year-old brother, Parker, were excited. They had entered a reading contest sponsored by a grocery store in their hometown. The two students who read the most books would each win a brand-new bicycle. All they had to do was have their parents and teachers sign for each book they read. Two bikes were to be awarded, one for the first-to-third-grade levels, and one for the fourth-to-sixth-grade levels.
Parker was especially excited because this was a way for him to earn a bike. He really wanted one. He was tired of watching his older brother ride around on the new purple ten-speed bike he had earned by working at a yard sale. Parker thought that it would be great to earn a bike of his own by reading books. So he started to read books as fast as he could. He read Curious George, Green Eggs and Ham, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. But no matter how many books he read, someone in his grade level had read more.
Meanwhile, Jaron had not been all that enthusiastic about the contest. When he went to the grocery store and checked the big chart with all the readers listed and how many books each had read, however, he could see that his younger brother had little chance of winning the contest.
Touched with the true meaning of Christmas, the joy of giving, he decided to do for Parker what he could not do for himself. So Jaron put away his own bike and, library card in hand, went to work. He read and read. He read when he wanted to ride his bike. He read as much as eight hours a day. The thrill of perhaps having such a wonderful gift to give kept him going.
The day came when the final lists were to be turned in. Jaron’s mother took him to the store, and he turned in his list, then admired the prize-winners bikes on display.
The store manager watched him admire the shiny red twenty-inch bike. “I suppose that if you win the contest,” the manager said, “you’ll want the larger bike, won’t you?”
Jaron looked up at the man’s smiling face and said very seriously, “Oh, no sir. I would like one exactly this size.”
“But isn’t this bike too small for you?”
“No sir—I want to win it for my little brother.”
The man was surprised. He turned to Jaron’s mother and said, “This is the best Christmas story I’ve heard all year!”
Jaron’s mother hadn’t known that he had worked so hard for his little brother. She looked at Jaron with great pride and joy as they went home to await the contest results.
Finally the phone call came! By reading 280 books, Jaron had won! With his parents’ help, he hid the bicycle in his grandma’s basement until Christmas Eve. He could hardly wait to give Parker his gift!
On Christmas Eve, the whole family gathered at Grandma’s home for a special family home evening. Mother told the story of Heavenly Father’s gift to the world of His Son Jesus Christ. Then she told the story of another older brother’s love. Although it wasn’t the great sacrifice the Savior has made for each of us, she said, it was a sacrifice, and it showed how much the older brother loved his younger brother. Parker and his family listened to the story of a brother who had read 280 books to win his little brother a bike.
“My big brother would do something like that for me,” Parker said.
At that, Jaron ran to the other room, where Grandma had moved the bike. The rest of the family proudly grinned while he wheeled out the two-wheeled treasure he had earned for his younger brother. Parker ran over to the bike, and the brothers hugged over the top of it.