Friday, December 13, 2019

Being A Gift to Others

In the Word and Silence column of the Peace Weekly, the writer introduces the readers to the well known short story by O'Henry: The Gift of the Magi. The poor couple both wanting to give a present to their mate sell their most precious possession to buy a Christmas gift for the other. The wife sells her hair to buy a watch chain for her husband's pocket watch, handed down in his family for generations and he sells his precious watch to buy combs for his wife's beautiful hair.

The Wisemen don't appear in the novel. The writer compares the couple, who were poor but loved each other deeply, to the Magi— sages from the East who have seen the star of the Savior's birth, worshiped the baby Jesus, offering gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts. Can the misplaced gift of a poor couple be compared to a precious gift offered to the Savior? The artist suggests such a comparison by the title.

Gold is the symbol of riches both in the past and present. Frankincense is a high-quality spice used in sacred rituals. Myrrh in history has been used as a medicine and perfume. The Wisemen gave what they considered of value as gifts. In comparison, the watch chain and combs are small and simple. It is the love of the couple that makes this poor gift as noble as the Magi's gift.

It is not easy to receive gifts, giving is easier. If you make up your mind, it can bring joy and excitement to someone. In fact, receiving a heartwarming gift is not too difficult. Gifts are surprisingly as pleasant to the giver as to the recipient. When the writer prepares a present, his heart is excited. There is the joy of choosing what to give and imagining the expression of the recipient. Giving a gift is the reward itself.

At times one gives of oneself as a gift to another. Young lovers who are about to marry are giving each other as gifts. "You ravish my heart, my sister, my promised bride, you ravish my heart with a single one of your glances, with one single pearl of your necklace. What spells lie in your love, my sister, my promised bride!" (Song 4:9). "Haste away, my Beloved. Be like a gazelle, a young stag, on the spicy mountains" (Song 8:14).

Another gift comes to the loving couple in the birth of new life. Babies are a different blessing than the human gift of love of the parents. One gesture, one laugh, gives them unimaginable happiness. The child comes as a more precious gift than the universe, bringing the purity and peace of heaven into their world.

Looking back, all of us were once such beautiful gifts. Existence itself brought joy to parents and families.
Again, life itself was a gift. The twilight years, the lonely times, the difficult moments of old age are accepted wholly with His grace.

I want to give my life as a present again. With the remaining time, I want to live as a gift to someone. We can all be gifts. You will be an unforgettable gift to me and I to you. Baby Jesus is everywhere. And we are all the three Wisemen from the East. Good fathers of this land, holding bags of sweet potatoes on this cold winter evening. Seeing the stars in the night sky, the wise men of the east going to Bethlehem.

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