Season 6

Episode 611: “The Christmas Gift”

Episode 611:  “The Christmas Gift”
Original Air Date:December 12, 1999
Written by::Ken LaZebnik & Patrice Chanel
Directed by:Stuart Margolin
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


Brianna Suzanne Douglas
Denise RaVaughn Brown
LaBelle Ruby Dee
Gabe Ossie Davis
Robert Cleavant Derricks

Robert and Brianna return to their impoverished hometown of East St. Louis for the Thanksgiving holiday. This tradition annoys Brianna, who worked hard to leave this city behind, and wishes that Robert’s widowed mother LaBelle would come to their safe and wealthy neighborhood instead. Monica and Tess watch unseen as Robert welcomes in the season with a beautiful carol played on his treasured trumpet. When a local homeless man named Gabe is drawn to the music, LaBelle welcomes him in for dinner, much to Brianna’s chagrin. LaBelle tells Brianna that she is happy in East St. Louis, where she knows her neighbors and volunteers at the soup kitchen.

After the holiday, Robert and Brianna work hard to afford their home by selling water filters. Though money is very tight, Roberts buys LaBelle a cell phone for safety reasons. She calls him late one night to tell him that a vandal has broken a window in her home, so Robert promptly leaves for East St. Louis. Hours later, Andrew, a policeman, arrives at Brianna’s door to inform her that Robert was killed while being carjacked, just a mile down the road. After Robert’s funeral, a few people come by to pay their respects, including Tess, Monica and Andrew. The angels offer to help LaBelle and Brianna any way they can, and encourage them to stay close through this hard time. Though finances are dwindling, Brianna is too proud to ask LaBelle for help and instead sells most of her possessions at a yard sale. The sale does not yield enough money to keep the house, however, so Brianna moves into a motel.

Monica finally convinces Brianna to go to LaBelle for help; Brianna agrees to temporarily move back to East St. Louis. The new living situation grates on both women who blame each other for Robert’s death. In her anger, Brianna smashes LaBelle’s cell phone, the last gift that Robert gave her. Trying to make amends, Brianna pawns Robert’s trumpet for a new cell phone. This makes LaBelle furious, as she treasures Robert’s trumpet more than any of his other possessions. Brianna vows to get the trumpet back and leave LaBelle forever, but finds that the trumpet has already been sold. Tess calms LaBelle, reminding her that a large part of Robert lives on in Brianna.

Monica reveals herself as an angel, and tells a desperate Brianna that God loves her. As the women reconcile on Christmas Eve, homeless Gabe is revealed as none other that the angel Gabriel. Gabriel has an annunciation — Brianna is pregnant! Both women weep with joy as Gabriel plays “Away In A Manger” on Robert’s rescued trumpet.

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