One of my favorite Christmas stories as a child was The Gift of the Magi. I can still smell the pages of the book we purchased at Macy’s, an abbreviated version of O. Henry’s classic short story (which I embarrassedly admit I just read for the first time in its original form today).
It is the story of a financially struggling young married couple’s great sacrifice for one another during Christmastime (That much is enough to trigger the tears hitting a little too close to home!). My heart goes out to the sweet young wife, Della, who wanted so badly to give the perfect gift to Jim, her hardworking husband, yet she didn’t have the means to. She sold her most precious treasure – her hair, which was the thing that made her feel most beautiful – to obtain the money to buy Jim’s present and he did something similar with his most prized possession as well. Sweet, isn’t it?
But also costly and extremely hard – hard to let go of the things we find the most comfort and joy in, the things we value most, in order to give to someone else. As simple human beings, putting others above ourselves is the hardest and the most we can do to truly love others.
I won’t give away the heartbreakingly beautiful twist at the end of the story, but highly encourage you to read the whole thing here with a box of tissues on hand.
Della’s seemingly small sacrifice may seem shallow in comparison with God’s amazing gift of sending His Son down to save the world, but I believe in God’s great grace, He grows and stretches us through these daily invitations to die to ourselves in order that we may spread His love to others.
In Your tender mercy You sent us Jesus as a baby, fully God and fully man, that He could empathize with us and eventually save us through His death and resurrection. Thank you for loving us so well and for understanding that our “small” sacrifices sometimes feel huge to us.
Please give us the strength to let go of what we need to, and to put aside our own desires so that we may show others Your love today.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!