Gideon's Gift (Red Gloves Series)

Gideon's Gift (Red Gloves Series)

4.4 19
by Karen Kingsbury

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One long-ago Christmas, Earl Gibson lost the two things most precious to him: his wife and daughter. Angry and heartbroken, he ended up living on the streets and abandoned any belief he'd once had in God.
Ten years later Big Earl meets Gideon, a seven-year-old leukemia patient who believes with all her heart that "Christmas means never having to ask God how much


One long-ago Christmas, Earl Gibson lost the two things most precious to him: his wife and daughter. Angry and heartbroken, he ended up living on the streets and abandoned any belief he'd once had in God.
Ten years later Big Earl meets Gideon, a seven-year-old leukemia patient who believes with all her heart that "Christmas means never having to ask God how much he loves us." Gideon is determined to reach this lonely and hurting man who hates Christmas--and he is just as determined to rebuff her. It will take a miracle for Earl to come to understand the true meaning of Christmas. But if he can accept what Gideon wants to give him, he might find that he can return the favor with a precious gift of his own.
In GIDEON'S GIFT, Karen Kingsbury reminds us that Christmas is still a time of miraculous possibilities if only we reach out to those around us.

Editorial Reviews

Karen Kingsbury, the author of A Treasury of Christmas Miracles, has written a touching holiday story about a homeless man who has lost his faith, a seven-year-old girl who has leukemia, and the miracle that connects them.

Product Details

Publication date:
Red Gloves Series
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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File size:
816 KB

Read an Excerpt

Gideon's Gift

A Novel
By Karen Kingsbury

Warner Books

Karen Kingsbury
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-53124-3

Chapter One

The red gloves were all that mattered. If living on the streets of Portland was a prison, the red gloves were the key. The key that - for a few brief hours - set him free from the lingering stench and hopeless isolation, free from the relentless rain and the tarp-covered shanty.

The key that freed him to relive the life he'd once had. A life he could never have again.

Something about the red gloves took him back and made it all real - their voices, their touch, their warmth as they sat with him around the dinner table each night. Their love. It was as though he'd never lost a bit of it. As long as he wore the gloves.

Otherwise, the prison would have been unbearable. Because the truth was Earl had lost everything. His life, his hope, his will to live. But when he slipped on the gloves ... Ah, when he felt the finely knit wool surround his fingers, Earl still had the one thing that mattered. He still had a family. If only for a few dark hours.

It was the first of November, and the gloves were put away, hidden in the lining of his damp parka. Earl never wore them until after dinner, when he was tucked beneath his plastic roof, anxious to rid himself of another day. He would've loved to wear them all the time, but he didn't dare. They were nice gloves. Handmade. The kind most street peoplewould snatch from a corpse.

Dead or alive, Earl had no intention of losing them.

He shuffled along Martin Luther King Boulevard, staring at the faces that sped past him. He was invisible to them. Completely invisible. He'd figured that much out his first year on the streets. Oh, once in a while they'd toss him a quarter or shout at him: "Get a job, old man!" or "Go back to California!" But mostly they just ignored him.

The people who passed him were still in the race, still making decisions and meeting deadlines, still believing it could never happen to them. They carried themselves with a sense of self-reliance - a certainty that they were somehow better than him. For most of them, Earl was little more than a nuisance. An unsightly blemish on the streets of their nice city.

Rain began to fall. Small, icy droplets found their way through his hooded parka and danced across his balding head. He didn't mind. He was used to the rain; it fit his mood. The longer he was on the street the more true that became.

He moved along. "Big Earl!"

The slurred words carried over the traffic. Earl looked up. A black man was weaving along the opposite sidewalk, shouting and waving a bottle of Crown Royal. He was headed for the same place as Earl: the mission.

Rain or shine, there were meals at the mission. All the street people knew it. Earl had seen the black man there a hundred times before, but he couldn't remember his name. Couldn't remember most of their names. They didn't matter to him. Nothing did. Nothing except the red gloves.

The black man waved the bottle again and shot him a toothless grin. "God loves ya, Big Earl!"

Earl looked away. "Leave me alone," he muttered, and pulled his parka tighter around his neck and face.

The mission director had given him the coat two years ago. It had served its purpose. The dark-green nylon was brown now, putrid-smelling and sticky with dirt. Earl's whiskers caught in the fibers and made his face itch. He couldn't remember the last time he'd shaved. Across the street the black man gave up. He raised his bottle to a group of three animated women with fancy clothes and new umbrellas. "Dinner bell's a callin' me home, ladies!"

The women stopped chatting and formed a tight, nervous cluster. They squeezed by the man, creating as much distance between them as they could. After they'd passed, the black man raised his bottle again. "God loves ya!"

The mission was two blocks up on the right. Behind him, Earl could hear the black man singing, his words running together like gutter water. Earl's cool response hadn't bothered him at all.

"Amazing grace, how sweet da sound ..."

Earl narrowed his gaze. Street people wore thick skins. Layers, Earl called it - years of living so far deep inside yourself, nothing could really touch you. Not the weather, not the nervous stares from passersby, not the callous comments from the occasional motorist.

And certainly not anything another street person might say or do.

The mission doors were open. A hapless stream of people mingled among the regulars. Earl rolled his eyes and stared at his boots. When temperatures dropped below fifty, indigents flooded the place. The regulars could barely get a table.

He squeezed his way past the milling newcomers, all of them trying to figure out where the line started and the quickest way to get a hot plate. Up ahead were two empty-eyed drifters - young guys with long hair and years of drug use written on their faces. Earl slid between them, grabbed a plate of food, and headed for his table, a forgotten two-seater off by itself in the far corner of the room.

"Hey, Earl." He looked up and saw D. J. Grange, mission director for the past decade. The man was bundled in his redplaid jacket, same as always. His eyes were blue. Too blue. And piercing. As though he could see things Earl didn't tell anyone. D. J. was always talking God this and God that. It was amazing, really. After all these years, D. J. still didn't get it.

Earl looked back down at his plate. "I don't come for a sermon. You know that," he mumbled into his instant mashed potatoes.

"We got people praying, Earl." D. J. gripped the nearest chair and leaned closer. Earl could feel the man's smile without looking. "Any requests? Just between us?"

"Yes." Earl set his fork down and shot D. J. the hardest look he could muster. "Leave me alone."

"Fine." D. J. grinned like a shopping-mall Santa Claus. "Let me know if you change your mind." Still smiling, he moved on to the next table.

There was one other chair at Earl's table, but no one took it. There was an unspoken code among street people - sober ones, anyway: "Eyes cast down, don't come around." Earl kept his eyes on his plate, and on this night the code worked. The others would rather stand than share a meal with a man who needed his space.

Besides his appearance would easily detract even the most hardened street people. He didn't look in the mirror often, but when he did, he understood why they kept their distance. It wasn't his scraggly, gray hair or the foul-smelling parka. It was his eyes. Cold, dead eyes.

The only time he figured his eyes might possibly show signs of life or loneliness was at night. When he wore the red gloves. But then, no one ever saw his eyes during those hours.

He finished his plate, pushed back from the table and headed for the exit. D. J. watched him go, standing guard at the front of the food line. "See you tomorrow, Earl." He waved big. "I'll be praying for you."

Earl didn't turn around. He walked hard and fast out the door into the dark, rainy night. It was colder than before. It worried him a little. Some years, when the first cold night had hit, another street person had swiped his bed or taken off with his tarp. His current tarp hung like a curtain across the outside wall of his home. It was easily the most important part of his physical survival. Small wonder they were taken so often.

He narrowed his eyes and picked up his pace. His back hurt and he felt more miserable than usual. He was anxious for sleep, anxious to shut out the world and everything bad about it. Anxious for the red gloves.

He'd spent this day like every other day, wandering the alleyways and staring at his feet. He always took his meals at the mission and waited. For sundown, for sleep, for death. Years ago, when he'd first hit the streets, his emotions had been closer to the surface. Sorrow and grief and guilt, fear and loneliness and anxiety. Hourly these would seize him, strangling his battered heart like a vice grip.

But each day on the streets had built in him another layer, separating him from everything he'd ever felt, everything about the man he used to be and the life he used to lead. His emotions were buried deep now, and Earl was sure they'd never surface again. He was a shell - a meaningless, unfeeling shell. His existence was centered in nothingness and nightfall.

He rounded the corner and through the wet darkness he saw his home. It was barely noticeable, tucked beneath an old wrought-iron stairwell deep in the heart of a forgotten alley. Hanging from seven rusty bolts along the underside of the stairs was the plastic tarp. He lifted the bottom of it off the ground and crawled inside. No matter how wet it was, rain almost never found its way beyond the tarp. His pillow and pile of old blankets were still dry.

He'd been waiting for this moment all day. His fingers found the zipper in the lining of his parka and lowered it several inches. He tucked his hand inside and found them, right where he'd left them this morning. As soon as he made contact with the soft wool, the layers began to fall away, exposing what was left of his heart.

Carefully he pulled the gloves out and slipped them onto his fingers, one at a time. He stared at them, studied them, remembering the hands that had knit them a lifetime ago. Then he did something that had become part of his routine, something he did every night at this time. He brought his hands to his face and kissed first one woolen palm and then the other.

"Good night, girls." He muttered the words out loud. Then he lay down and covered himself with the tattered blankets. When he was buried far beneath, when the warmth of his body had served to sufficiently warm the place where he slept, he laced his gloved fingers together and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning he was still half given to a wonderful dream when he felt rain on his face. Rain and a stream of light much brighter than usual. With eyes closed, he turned his head from side to side. What was it? Where was the water coming from and why wasn't his tarp working?

He rubbed his fingers together - - nd sat straight up. "No!" His voice ricocheted off the brick walls of the empty alley.

"Noooo!" He stood up and yelled as loudly as he could - a gut-wrenching, painful cry of the type he hadn't uttered since that awful afternoon five years ago. His head was spinning. He grabbed at his hair, pulled it until his scalp hurt. It wasn't possible. Yet ... He'd been robbed. In the middle of the night someone had found him sleeping and taken most of what made up his home. His tarp was gone. Most of his blankets, too.

But that wasn't all. They had stolen everything left of his will to live, everything he had to look forward to. Nothing this bad had happened to him since he took to the streets. He shook his head in absolute misery as a driving rain pelted his skin, washing away all that remained of his sleep.

He stared at his hands, his body trembling. The thing he'd feared most of all had finally happened. The red gloves were gone.


Excerpted from Gideon's Gift by Karen Kingsbury Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Karen Kingsbury is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 60 works of fiction and nonfiction with nearly 25 million copies in print. Widely considered America's favorite inspirational novelist, she is best known for drawing unforgettable characters and stories which evoke a range of emotions. Karen reaches over 100,000 women annually through national speaking appearances. She and her husband, Don, currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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Gideon's Gift 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Come on karen,798kb, only 90 pages,give us a break.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! I read a couple chapters here and there until chapter 5 - then I couldn't put it down... I cried for the last half of the book because it touched me so much! I would recomend this book to anyone!!! PLEASE READ IT!
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Gideon's Gift Author: Karen Kingsbury Published: 10-10-02 Publisher: FaithWords/Center Street Pages: 144 Genre: Christian Fiction Sub Genre: Inspirational; Holidays ISBN: 9780446531245 ASIN: B003EQDZFE Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . Gideon is God's better attempts at humanity. Where most children suffering with a life threatening illness, seven year old Gideon with the faith to move mountains has one wish for this holiday season. Gideon wants God to show her how to restore Earl Badgett's faith desire to live. Earl, show lost his family has given up on God and life. He has taken to the streets wanting to die. Gideon uses a pair of red gloves to ring a miracle for Earl about. When her leukemia comes back even more aggressive than before Gideon's family wonders if their might be a miracle to spare for Gideon or will this be their last Christmas with their little angel. Karen Kingsbury is a woman of faith who writes some of the most inspirational stories I have ever read. I have been reading her books for years and have never felt religion was being forced onto me. Being raised in a Baptist home rooted deeply in the bible I loved how I was reminded of God's love for us does not means will not know pain, but rather his love will comfort us at our darkest hours if we will ask him to. Gideon's Gift is also included in The Red Gloves Collection. Any book by Karen Kingsbury is a treasure, but I have to admit Gideon's Gift is one of my favorite books she has written. It will make you laugh and make you cry.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Gideon's Gift is a touching and sweet Christmas read. I found it to be inspiring and a reminder of God's love. Great Christmas read. Five stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the many cases of childhood illnesses and the stories of homeless people, this touched my heart. A good read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short, sweet story!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't miss this one. With this book, I've completed reading the 'Red Glove' series. Each book was beautifully written and well worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 6th grade, and have read it every year since, and I am now in 9th. This book was truly inspirational and amazing. I would reccomend it to anyone and everyone !
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down I loved it more than anything its my favorite book some books are too discribing but this book was perfect. I want to read all of the books after it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book at the store, thinking it would be a good read. But I had so much school reading to do that I wouldn't have had time to read it, but then I got strep. I read it in one day, even though this book is short, it is one of the best books I have ever read! It was a terrific story about a young girl, who is suffering from leukimia, and the grouchy old man who has lost all faith, and the way that they connect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gideon is an angelic little girl who is dying with cancer. However, just at Christmas, in the season of miracles, she gets one, remission from her disease. Determined to spread the joy, she uses all she has saved to buy a cynical, homeless man a pair of red mittens, hopefully replicating the ones he lost, and with their loss, lost hope and faith. Somehow, the used mittens she is able to buy are the very ones that he lost. Then, life turns for the worse, and Gideon needs another miracle. Her cancer is back, and worse than ever. Will there be another miracle, or will she join the angels for whom she is named? **** As always, Ms. Kingsbury delivers a story that warms your heart through the tears pouring down your face. Closing one of her books never fails to leave the reader untouched and with a new lease on life. I also encourage readers to take time to read the author's message at the end and support the projects mentioned so as to help bring miracles to more people. ****
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! I read it in one day - I could NOT put it down. This was such a warm, feel good story! I even cried at the end! Definitely a book to read!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Karen Kingsbury's inspiration for writing The Red Glove Series was based on what she saw modeled by her father, how on one Thanksgiving, he loaded up a plate of leftovers and headed out to find the first person in need and pass the plate of food on to them. It would create such a lasting impression of the very nature of what God implied when He asked us to care for those in need, those that are hurting and ones we can lessen the burden for in unremarkable ways. Gideon's Gift begins the series and shares with us the store of how one little eight-year-old girl named Gideon who was struggling with finding a Christmas miracle in light of hoping her leukemia this year might go into remission. She truly believes in the message she has heard that Christmas miracles come to those who believe. As she and her father, Brian Mercer made their way to the hospital, they stopped like they always did while waiting for the blood tests and shared in a rare conversation, "What is their own idea of the perfect Christmas?" Little did Gideon know how God was listening to one girl's request to have the perfect Christmas just once, one that would blow the doors off any ordinary miracle and one that would change not only her life, but the lives of the people she would touch this year. Earl Badgett had hoped that all his years of living on the streets might one day take his life, but it looks like this is not going to be that day. As he makes his way into the local mission to get a hot meal, he holds on to the only hope that keeps his heart from growing cold. A single pair of red gloves hand-knitted by his wife Anne, two years ago for his Christmas present. It was almost two years to the date when he would once again find himself remembering that fateful night that claimed the life of his wife and daughter and would also claim any remnant of the Earl that once loved them. Now he spends his days and nights hoping this will be the night that he will join them in heaven, but one encounter with Gideon at the mission will change them both forever and show how powerful prayer can truly be to those who believe in God. I received Gideon's Gift by Karen Kingsbury compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This is such an amazing inspirational novel that would make a great Christmas gift that you can read together as a family, a chapter each night, to gain a true meaning of God's power and that of prayer. How God can change a hardened heart and show the amazing power of sacrificial love for another. There is even a section at the conclusion of the book that shares ways you can extend the gift of service to others this Christmas. I can highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something to stir the real reason behind Christmas and put you in the perfect Christmas Spirit and easily give it a 5 out of 5 stars!