December 7

Written by Bill Grandi on December 7th, 2023

One of my favorite short stories of all that generally is read, seen, or heard during the Christmas season (besides the real story of the birth of Jesus), is the one written by O’Henry called The Gift of the Magi.  It would be hard for me to find or believe there being someone who has not read or heard of this story, but just in case…

I understand that O’Henry’s personal life was in turmoil at the time of writing this story, which makes this story even more incredible. He tells the story of a young couple (Jim & Della) who are deeply in love but dirt poor. It is Christmas time and they each wanted to get the other a gift. To summarize: when it comes time for them to give each other their gift, Jim gives Della combs for her beautiful, long hair, and Della gives Jim a beautiful gold chain for his pocket watch. The beauty of the story is that Della cut her hair and sold it to buy the chain: Jim sold his watch to buy the combs. The ending of the story says, “Of all who give and receive gifts, these two were the most wise.”

The story has one overarching lesson (among many): sacrifice for another is the greatest gift of all. Speaking from a 2023 viewpoint, can you imagine the love they had for each other to 1) take a most prized possession (hair and watch) and sell it for 2) the ultimate gift of sacrifice to one you love? After Della hands Jim the chain which she is so proud of buying, he tells her about selling his watch to by her combs and then tells here, “We should put our gifts away and have our meal.” O’Henry’s point can’t be missed: is there any greater gift than sacrificing for another?

Need I make the point? Jesus. Cross. Sacrifice. Giving up His life for those whom He loved and loves.

We are wise (magi) if we follow His example.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    I believe the first time I heard this story, it was you who shared it. A good reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice. Thanks again for sharing and the reminder.

  2. Reading this story always broke my heart, Bill. Such sacrificial love should never be overlooked or dismissed, but celebrated. That Jesus to save us from our sins, no matter what the cost to Him, is the ultimate love story.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      For sure Martha there is a certain bit of melancholy associated with a story like that. But it is a good picture of the ultimate love story.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Such a beautiful example of love and devotion! I love this story. God bless you this Christmas season, Pastor Bill!