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A Gift Exchange

A young man and woman, who were very much in love, and who were both very poor, desperately wanted to give one another a special gift for Christmas to express their devotion to one another. The woman knew that her beloved needed a watch chain for his prized pocket watch which was given to him by his father who had died several years earlier. She knew that he had never carried the watch because he was fearful that he would lose it without a chain. He valued this watch more than anything in his possession.

The woman decided that she would find a way to buy him a chain for that watch and surprise him with it at Christmas; and find a way she would.

While walking by a shop window one day, the man spotted the most beautiful hair combs that he had ever seen. They were shiny gold and adorned with opals and mother-of-pearl. He knew that he must find a way to buy those for his beloved for Christmas. She had long and lovely hair that (when let down) almost reached the back of her knees. He had no way of purchasing those combs for her even though he had tried to save for them all year. He decided that he would find a way; and find I way he would.

The man stopped by his beloveds flat 3 days before Christmas and asked if she would meet him on Christmas Eve at midnight in the park at the bench where they had first met, a year ago. She agreed.

That Christmas Eve was a cold windy night. The woman bundled up with a heavy coat and hat and set out to meet the man she loved. She was very excited, because she had found a way (at the very last minute) to buy him the watch chain and had wrapped it up in a little wooden box that she had found in her hope chest. She could hardly wait to give it to him for Christmas.

The moon was full that night and as she got closer to their special place, she could see him standing there waiting for her. He was holding a glistening box with a big satin bow in his gloved hand.

"Merry Christmas, my love". This is a very wonderful Christmas for me and I hope that it will be for you also. I have a rather special gift for you this year" he said, as he handed her the glistening box. She said, "I have a very special gift for you this year, as well". She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out the box containing the watch chain. "This is for you", she said softly.

"You open your gift first", said the man. She said, "Oh, no - you open your gift first". Since neither would budge, the man suggested that they open their gifts at the same time, and so they did. As the man lifted the lid on the tiny box to see the golden watch chain, his eyes filled with tears. He looked up at his beloved, who had discovered the beautiful hair combs. Tears were flowing down her cheeks.

As their eyes met, she said, "Do you like your gift"? He wiped away his tears and said "Of course I like my gift. I love my gift. However, I must tell you that I sold my pocket watch to buy you those beautiful hair combs because I knew that you had never owned anything so lovely to put in your long beautiful hair. Do you like them as much as I thought that you would?"

With tears flowing down her cheeks, she slowly pulled off her winter hat to reveal that all of her beautiful hair had been cut off. He said, "My love, what happened to your hair"? With her head down and hardly able to speak, she said, "I so desperately wanted to buy you that watch chain; but, I had no way of raising the money in time for Christmas--so, I sold my hair to the wig shop in order to buy your gift.

He held her in his arms, and said, "This is indeed a Christmas that we will always remember--a very wonderful Christmas".

The End


"What is the moral of this story?" Perhaps, that they were willing to sacrifice something of value, to give something that ended up having no usefulness or value, except to always remind them of their willingness to sacrifice something they valued in order to express their love for each other.

My slant on it: As touching as this story is and perhaps simply because of my practical nature; my exhortation would be: Meet each other under the moonlight; serenade her with a song; slow dance to the sound of the wind rustling in the trees; softly kiss and say "I love you!" Don't buy each other gifts! You are each other's gift.


Comments

Mel said…
I love this beautiful story. And I agree with what you said regarding practicality. Every time I've ever heard this story, I part of me has felt that if I were one of the main characters, I would feel some measure of regret over my decision. Of course, a person needs to know their mate well enough to know whether they'd enjoy being serenaded... I think my husband would want to die and melt into the cracks of the floor from embarassment. :) But, I can think of many other acts of service he would enjoy and appreciate much more. God's Creation is truly amazing in its diversity, isn't it?
TruthMatters said…
Hi Mel,

As always, your comments are such an encouragement and I thank the Lord that he blesses you through this blog.

I smiled when you said, "everytime I've heard this story". This post is actually my complete "re-write" (my own personal version) of the original story entitled "The gifts of the Magi" by O'Henry.

Most would prefer the original version to my "re-write".

If you are interested in comparing my re-write to the original here is the link to the original: http://www.auburn.edu/~vestmon/Gift_of_the_Magi.html
Mel said…
Both versions are great, but yours is far easier to read, and gets more clearly to the heart of the matter. (in my opinion) :)

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