Post # 995
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.
Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur
They say there is happiness not in getting or having but only in giving, and I suspect that the human heart recognizes this fact even more acutely every December. That is why we walk just a bit more lightly and find ourselves smiling at complete strangers for no reason other than the fact that it makes us feel good. And I don’t know about you, but I wish I could bottle this feeling up and share it with the world the other 11 months of the year.
It was that joy of selfless giving that inspired me to write a “Thought” in 2011 based on “The Gift of the Magi” and which, today, becomes my “Throwback” gift to you!
Thought For The Day 12/05/11
There can be no more beautiful story about giving to think about at the time of the year than that O Henry (a pen name for William Sydney Porter) classic, “The Gift of the Magi”, and which, by the way, was reportedly written by the author sometime around 1905, while dining at Pete’s Tavern, located on Irving Place in NYC, and a favorite dining spot for Dan and me when we lived and worked in the Big Apple. Just in case there are any who don’t know the story, here is a brief synopsis:
- There is a young, newly married couple who were very poor. Both have selected presents for the other that they know would be much-loved. But both lacked enough money. So Jim sold his prize possession, his grandfather’s watch to get the money he needed. His wife, Delia, also determined to give her gift decided to sell her most prized possession to get the money…..her long, beautiful hair. Sacrifices made and gifts in hand, Christmas morning found the exchange…..Her gift to him was a gold watch chain for his grandfather’s watch. And his was a jeweled comb for his wife’s beautiful hair.
Fast forward to just last year. I learned of a local couple much like Delia and Jim. Our husband had lost his job a few months before Christmas due to layoffs and had not yet found another. His wife, a young infant in her arms, was caring for their baby and unable to get a job just yet. Christmas fast approaching and wanting to gift the other with something special to raise the spirits which were certainly depressed, each decided to sell their most prized posession…..He sold a sailboat he had built with his father as a young man and she sold the platinum and diamond necklace inherited from her grandmother, but not worn because the chain was broken. And I am sure you can guess the gifts exchanged that Christmas morning….. she gave him an anchor for his boat and he gave her a platinum chain for her grandmother’s necklace.
The gift of the Magi was written in the very early years of the 20th century and yet the willingness of partners to make sacrifices for the love of each other exists even today, in all its glory and splendor. We are seeing evidence of this devotion so much these last few years as economic times threaten to swallow so many young families up. And yet, despite the divorce statistics that I read about, what I am seeing are strong relationships, bound by threads of love as strong as steel, working and sacrificing one for the other….true examples of the selfless love shared…..of what God has said the partnership of two people should be! True everyday examples of gifting of the Magi.
I know God is pleased with these people, our 21st century couple, struggling, but not giving up, and is watching over them, planting within them that seed that tells us that God doesn’t provide solutions but only provides to us the road-map by which he hopes we will choose to lead our lives. God’s reply might come as the strength to fight on. It may come as the courage to face what we have been fearing. God’s answer may be the ability to accept what we have been denying. Or it may appear as hope in the face of despair. But I am seeing the results everywhere I look. I am seeing strong relationships, couples working and walking hand-in-hand. I am as pleased as I know God is!
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
Matthew 2: 10-12 NIV
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