Give freely this Christmas

Editorial, Normal

THERE is a time worn Christmas story told by a far more eloquent story teller than this one which finer details elude us now.
The soul of the story, however, remains and begs rendition even if the story line and characters change in this retelling.
Somewhere upon God’s good Earth there lived a couple of quite modest means who loved each other immensely.
Let us call them Peter and Faith.
One Christmas Eve, after a particularly difficult year, each was wondering what to give to the other as a gift.
After a long time of reflection, they made up their minds separately.
Faith knew exactly what to get her husband but was wondering whether her meagre savings would be enough.
She had watched each morning as her husband would dress up and then at the stroke of 7.30, he would take out his gold pocket watch from his waist coat pocket and glance at it, give his wife a kiss and stride out the door.
The watch was a heirloom passed down two generations from a distant relative who was of far better means than this present relation.
She had wanted to buy him a gold chain to attach to the watch but was never able to.
On this particular Christmas she had seen exactly the chain she wanted for him in one of the shops and although the price was far beyond her savings, she determined that she would not let this opportunity slip.
On his side, the man too reached a decision. There were many attributes about his wife that he treasured but he knew one thing she treasured about herself: Her hair.
She had long burnished golden tresses that reached almost down to her waistline which each morning she would struggle to comb and hold in place.
He was going to have to do something about that.
On Christmas Eve, they had a magnificent dinner alone at home during which the man kept looking at his radiant wife, wondering what about her had changed.
While fetching tea after dinner, he finally made out why his wife looked different.
For the first time she had done up her hair in a bun and hid beneath a scarf.
It being a special occasion he decided not to comment.
He reached silently into his pocket and pulled out the present he had picked up for his wife, wrapped neatly in red Christmas wrapping and tied with a golden ribbon.
Coming up behind her, he gave her a kiss on the nape of the neck and reaching from behind her he put the gift on the table before her.
With trembling hands, she pulled loose the ribbon and opened the wrappings slowly.
As she pulled open the final layer, he ripped off her scarf expecting to see a cascade of golden tresses.
Both stood immobile with shock for a full minute as each tried to comprehend what had happened.
There on the table were sets of golden hair bands and a golden comb to match but there was no evidence of the golden tresses.
It had been trimmed almost to the scalp.
Faith stood up and grabbing Peter she told him she loved him very much and rummaging in the kitchen drawer she brought out her gift to him.
He stood in shocked silence and unwrapped the gift to find the finest gold chain he ever did see.
He looked at it in stupefied wonder before he grabbed his wife, kissing her and holding her close and then the tears streamed down his face.
“Darling,” he said. “My darling, I pawned the watch to buy the hair bands and comb.”
They held each other for a long moment and then fell down laughing and crying at the same time.
They had each sacrificed the thing dearest to them to get what they believed the other would truly love only to find out that that item had been sold or pawned.
The gifts that they had sold their most valued possessions to buy were quite useless – for a time at least, but the thought, the love and the sacrifice they made was without price, far surpassing any material possession.
Let us all have such a spirit this Christmas. Let us give of ourselves freely and wholly to our loved ones this Christmas.
The world would be a far better place if we did.
Merry Christmas to one and all.