5 Jan

“The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men – who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.”
~ O. Henry, The Gift of the Magi

As we celebrate the Epiphany, for today’s reflection, I was half tempted to write, “Sing ‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’ to yourself”; but, I thought better of that although it would be a wonderful reflection. After all, if you sing it to yourself and ponder the words, it tells a magnificent story. O. Henry told a magnificent story in his Gift of the Magi. It was a story of love and sacrifice that made the gifts exchanged so profound.

The first gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – were given to Christ the King when the Magi found Him. They worshipped Him and then departed by another way because Herod wanted them to report the location of Jesus so that he could kill the Child.

Since that first Christmas story, Christmas and gift-giving have gone hand in hand. That is not a bad thing. What should probably be considered, though, are the number of ways that we can give gifts to others that have no monetary or material worth. Gifts of friendship, love, compassion, and care come to mind quite promptly. Gifts of patience, encouragement, understanding, and loyalty follow just as quickly.

There are so many ways that we can gift others without spending a dime. And those gifts that are not material have more worth, more value, than any expensive gift that we could possibly find. For what is more precious than the gift of self.

Did we not learn that, after all, when God gave Himself to us on that Christmas morning long ago? Did we not see it even more intimately when Jesus gave Himself to us on the cross? What can we possibly give Jesus in return? Would not the best gift be the gift of ourselves – our time or talent – to another?

FAITH ACTION: What gift are you going to give to the King today?