Angel to Angel

They say you should be careful about what you ask for, because you just might get it. Well, a few years ago, I impulsively asked for something big -- and now I'm really going to get it! It all started when I met Martha Williamson at a National Association of Broadcasters breakfast. Martha is a Christian, and she is the executive producer for the wonderful television series, Touched by an Angel. I asked her to consider doing an episode about Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program. Well, Martha listened -- and on December 17, this coming Sunday -- millions of viewers will have a chance to learn about the miracles wrought through Angel Tree every Christmas. The plot revolves around a character named Kathy Benson, a mother of three struggling to make ends meet. Her husband, Joe, is serving a 5-year prison term for manslaughter. Kathy's 13-year-old son, Cody, suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, a chemical disorder of the brain that causes him to twitch involuntarily and emit hiccup-like sounds. Through a flashback sequence, we learn that Cody was with his father the night the killing took place -- and that Cody's disorder indirectly triggered the incident that led to his father's conviction. At the prison where Joe is incarcerated, the angel Andrew becomes a volunteer. He encourages Joe to take part in Project Angel Tree, a program in which churches deliver Christmas gifts to the children of inmates. Joe signs up his two younger children, but not Cody, whom he blames for his troubles. Andrew helps Joe take a hard look at how his attitude toward Cody's disorder and his relationship with his own father contributed to his predicament. Meanwhile, the angel Monica helps Cody understand that God loves him just the way he is. The mother of the crime victim is not forgotten, either: The angel Tess ministers to this woman, and helps her come to terms with her loss. As an act of healing and forgiveness, this mother decides to buy Angel Tree gifts for the children of the man who killed her son. The program vividly illustrates how crime tears apart families and hurts the innocent children of those who break the law. But it also demonstrates what can happen when people turn their grief and anger over to God: healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The idea that a mother can forgive and even reach out to the person who took the life of her child may seem implausible to some; I know differently. I've seen it happen in real life. And I've seen the toughest prisoners -- murderers, rapists, and thugs -- come to Christ through their own children: children who received Angel Tree gifts from volunteers who witnessed to them and took them to church. Stories like these bear witness to the truth of our faith. I urge you to tune in at 8 p.m. Sunday evening and watch this episode of Touched by an Angel. And invite some unsaved friends to watch with you. And please, won't you consider getting involved with Angel Tree yourself? We have many children -- real ones, not Hollywood actors -- who are signed up this year. But they won't receive gifts unless we help them. Call 1-800-942-6435 or visit for details about how your church can participate. You can help incarcerated parents stay in touch with their children -- and bring Christmas blessings to many kids like Cody.


Chuck Colson


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