Everyone knows that story – the one about the young couple who want to give each other a wonderful gift for Christmas – so the woman cuts off her beautiful hair to sell in order to buy a chain for her husband’s pocket watch – and her husband sells his pocket watch to buy a set of ivory combs for his wife’s long hair…

I was very young when I first heard that story, and I’m afraid it made me cry. But what made me cry wasn’t so much the fact that they’d sacrificed something beloved to buy a gift for each other – gifts that were rendered moot by their own sacrifices – no, what made me cry was the lack of communication. Even as a child, I knew that if they hadn’t plotted and planned in secret, none of the heartbreak would have happened.

Of course, then there would not have been a story – a story about love and sacrifice, in the first place. I think I just hated the fact that their sacrifice was in vain.

At the end of the story, the angel hovering overhead and pointing out how wonderful they were, and how great it was didn’t impress me. He could hover and point all he wanted. These poor people had lost a great deal. They were poor, and now they were even poorer.

“Money can’t buy everything,” the angel says, looking at me and frowning now. “The point of the story is that love is what is important. Not hair or watches.”

“Go stick it in your trumpet,” I snap back. “Comunication. That’s what we need.”

“We have tons of communication. We are drowned out by the babble of commuication. Do you think that’s going to help anything? If they’d posted what they were going to do on Facebook, do you think that would have helped?” The angel is tapping his foot on his cloud. The cloud is turning dark and little lightning bolts are shooting out of it.

The angel has a point. Even with all the information we have, we still can’t make the right moves. We are inundated by information, and we still do stupid things.

I guess, in the end, the only thing that really matters is love, and salf-sacrifice. I admit, I never really did understand the story. It’s not a sad tale – it’s a happy one.

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Gloating does not suit you, Angel.

Oh, and if you want to read the story – here is a link:

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

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