I’m not sure if you’re anything like me, but I get seriously fuzzy and silly around Christmas. Not because of the parties and the lights and the rest of the jazz, but because I truly believe in Christmas. I love seeing it, feeling it and discovering the season anew through my daughter’s eyes.
She loves the lights and you can tell she’s totally fascinated by the décor as we drive around and also the fact that now I’m saying “Merry Christmas” to people we meet rather than just hello and goodbye.
Yes, it is true that adults have a more difficult time feeling the spirit of Christmas especially when it’s so obvious that the season is truly commercial. However, today I want to attempt to take you away from the numerous commercial ventures and Bible preaching and maybe help you discover the spirit of Christmas once again.
The media will be awash with stories of Christmas from the biblical one to the romantic ones and the Disney tales that tell of gifts and magic, candy-cane and fun. However, if you’re finding hard to get into the mood, allow me to share with you a Christmas story that I hope if nothing else will bring a tear to your eyes and warm your heart no end. Anyone who knows me well (very few do) will tell you I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. I came across this story about five years ago and it has stayed with me throughout the years simply because it is more than a Christmas story.
The story is titled The Gift of the Magi. It is about a young couple (Jim and Della) who did not have much in terms of financial resources. Now, there were two possessions that they individually took a mighty pride in. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair.
Jim’s wish was to give Della lovely accessories for her hair, while Della’s dream was to give Jim a beautiful golden chain for his pocket watch – the one he had was leather, worn, old and torn.
Della had lovely hair, you have to watch the Youtube video for the story to understand that her hair was outstanding. She had the sort of hair that makes hairdressers gasp and men want to run their hands through it. The sort of hair advertising gurus look for when hoping to sell a new hair product. Truly a woman’s crowing glory. As for Jim – that pocket watch was a family heirloom. So precious and unique, museums would have paid handsomely to have it.
So on the day before Christmas, Della went to the shop of a woman who bought hair (not sold it) and sold her beautiful shinny hair for 20 dollars. Yes, she had her hair cut off down to the length of Jennifer Hudson’s new pixie cut, felt the cold on her head for the first time, but smiled as she took her twenty dollars and ran out from the shop. She then spent the next two hours ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's.
Happy with all her efforts, she went home and make herself as attractive as she could hope to be without her long, beautiful hair. When she heard his step on the stairs as he made his way home, she got frightened for a moment and whispered a quick prayer. "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor. "Cut it off and sold it," said Della.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too,” giggled Della. “Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Then, Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
Inside the package lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshiped long in a Broadway window. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!". Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit. "Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now.
Long story short as word-count is not on my side (and you can Google the story at your leisure) Jim loved Della’s long, beautiful hair and wished he could give her a set of combs for Christmas. Della, on the other hand, saw how Jim took good care of his chain-less pocket watch, her dream was to buy her husband a chain for that watch if she only had the money. Thinking of how each could make the other happy for Christmas, she had her hair shorn and sold her long, lustrous hair in exchange for cash that she used to buy a chain Jim’s watch. Without knowing this, Jim sold his watch so he could buy his wife the combs. On Christmas day, both discovered the lengths they would go to just to make Christmas more meaningful for the other.
My wish for you this Christmas, is that it will be about giving of ourselves and let’s not just practice this on Christmas, but throughout the coming year. May this be a season of giving for all of us in the most meaningful way.
Merry Christmas everyone!