Gift of the Magi


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Bible Reading: Psalm 112:5-6

Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely. Psalm 112:5, NIV

The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

0. HENRY wrote the famous tale “The Gift of the Magi,” the story of Delia and Jim, a young married couple who loved each other very much.

On Christmas Eve, Jim and Delia had no gifts to give each other and no money to buy gifts. One dollar and eighty-seven cents was all they had. Well, not exactly all.

Jim had an expensive gold pocket watch that had belonged to his father and grandfather. Delia had long, beautiful brown hair that would have been the envy of the wealthiest woman in the world. So Jim and Delia secretly decided to sell their most prized possessions to buy a special gift for each other.

Delia had her hair cut and sold to a wigmaker. When Jim came home from work, he looked upon Delia’s short hair with shock. Not only was her beautiful hair gone, but he had bought her an expensive set of decorative combs to use in her luxurious hair.

When Delia unwrapped the combs, she turned her tearful eyes on Jim and smiled. “My hair grows so fast, Jim!” she said. Then she proudly produced the present she had bought him and held it out to him in her open palm. It was an expensive platinum chain for Jim’s most precious possession-his watch.

Jim put his hands behind his head and smiled. “Let’s put our presents away and keep ’em a while,” he said. “They’re too nice to use just at present.” Then he explained. “I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs.”

Jim’s and Delia’s gifts were motivated by unselfish sacrifice, by true generosity. By the time they gave their gifts to each other, the gifts themselves had lost their value. Yet their generosity was worth far more than any watch chain or hair comb because it showed how much they loved each other.

Most people think that generous people could be richer if they didn’t give so much away. But that’s not true. Generous people may give a lot away, but they often receive something worth far more than what they give away.

REFLECT: In what ways do you think their generosity made Jim and Delia, the characters in O. Henry’s story, poorer or richer?

Have you ever been sorry for being generous? Have you ever been happy because you were generous? Why or why not?

ACT: Anytime you comb your hair or look at your watch today, remember the blessings that can come from being generous.

PRAY: “God, thank you for the happiness you bring to me when I’m generous.”


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