Good Shepherd’s Magi Tree: A Parable

magi tree

Each year, the Magi Tree at Good Shepherd gives us the opportunity to share gifts with those less fortunate during the holidays. Children in the Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC) Foster Care Program, survivors of Hurricane Florence, and our adult friends with developmental disabilities are recipients of Magi Tree gifts this year.

This Sunday, take a moment to choose an ornament (or two) from the Magi Tree to make this Christmas a little more special for someone. Thank you to Ilene Holmes for sharing the story below of why and how she gave to the Magi Tree.

I was in foster care as a teenager.  In a little more than 3 years, I lived in 4 foster homes.  Moves were sudden, came without warning and often did not make sense to me.  I had no control over the moves, I just had to go on very short notice.  One day, all my plans would just be turned upside down, and I had to pack up all my stuff quickly, not knowing what the new home would be like, if I would feel welcome there, or if I would like it.  I did not get to say goodbye to friends, so as far as they were concerned, I just suddenly dropped off the face of the earth.  It made me feel invisible, as if I was not important to anyone, as if there was no one I could count on.  I had to start over again in a new home, a new town, a new school, make new friends.

At times like that, it was really hard to hold onto my sense of self, my dignity and composure.  But there was no time to fall apart.  Falling apart would have made it even harder to adjust and would have made it harder to establish new relationships.

From the Magi tree, I chose a 17 year old girl who asked for a duffel bag. I envisioned that she needed it so she would be able to hold herself together on those awful days when her world is turned upside down, maybe a scenario she is too familiar with already.  Maybe she has already experienced having to pack up all her things in plastic grocery bags.  I am planning to pack her duffel with lots of nice bags of all sizes and some with nice names on them from stores, even collapsible bags that she can carry along in her purse or pocket.  At the very least, she can arrive at her new home with all of her things, whatever they may be, in nice bags.  I hope it will help her hold her head up.

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