We read the Gift of the Magi together on Christmas eve this year: This is one of my favourite parts of this precious story about sacrificial giving. May we have hearts that strive to give out of our need, and not out of our abundance alone...
The Gift of the Magi - O. Henry, an excerpt. Click here for the whole story
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with
the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully
at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard.
Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with
which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny
she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a
week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had
calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for
Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for
something nice for him. Something fine and rare and
sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy
of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room.
Perhaps you have seen a
pier-glass in an $8 flat. A
very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a
rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly
accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had
mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before
the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face
had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled
down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham
Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's
gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's.
The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in
the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair
hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate
Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the
janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement,
Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed,
just to see him pluck at his beard from envy...