There is a famous slogan about “the gift that keeps on giving” that has been used for promoting various products from appliances to flowers.
But to me, it is more appropriately used to inspire people to make a donation or give of themselves, because of how fulfilling it can be and how it makes usbetter people.
There is no more beautiful story about the act of giving then the one by O’Henry called The Gift of The Magi.
In the story, a husband and wife, Jim and Della, want to give each other holiday gifts, but they are poor.
Della has beautiful long hair, but no combs for it, and Jim has a gold watch passed down from his father and grandfather, but no chain for it.
Each sacrifices for the other and in a tragic irony–Della sells her long, flowing hair to buy a gold chain for Jim, and Jim sells the prized gold watch to purchase a set of special combs for Della.
They could’ve been selfishly focused on what each individually was lacking, but instead they rose above it and were superbly generous–giving away their own prized possessions to try and make the other whole.
They found the wisdom of the ages in terms of loving, giving, and sharing being of the greatest joys one can have.
I love this story for it’s simplicity in teaching about giving and sacrifice and channeling whatever our challenges in life are into opportunities for betterment.
Maybe as individuals, we can’t change the whole world in one fell swoop, but with each positive contribution and act of giving, we can leave it a little better than the way we found it.
I was so proud earlier today when I heard one of my teenage daughters say: “the reason we are given things is in order to give to others.”
I don’t think my daughter ever heard of this O’Henry story, but I see how she is learning and living it, and what more can any parent want from their children.
(Source Photo: herewith attribution to OpenSourceWay)