This Christmas, I felt like Peter and I were living out our own version of the O. Henry short story, The Gift of the Magi. Do you know it?
This story traces one evening in the life of a husband and wife who have no money to buy each other gifts for Christmas. So the husband sells his pocket watch in order to buy combs for his wife’s lovely long hair. And the wife sells her hair in order to buy a chain for her husband’s pocket watch.
They give each other the wrong gifts.
It’s a tragedy, of sorts.
Often I feel like I give Peter the wrong gift at the wrong time. I spend years trying to understand what he needs or wants, and by the time I finally give it to him, he has relinquished that desire out of his own love for me. And vice versa.
This year, I gave Peter the gift of a night away together at a local inn. We watched television and ate french fries and slept late. We also argued, and prayed, and I cried. We held hands and wondered whether we would ever be able to understand each other. Whether we would ever be able to give love to each other in a way that the other could receive.
At the end of our time together, we hiked to a local waterfall. And somehow, even with all the missteps, even with all the bumbling efforts of giving and receiving the wrong gifts, what I take away from that time together is love.
O. Henry’s story isn’t really a tragedy. It’s a portrait of love. That even the wrong gifts, given in love, will pour out a waterfall of grace.
Read more with Amy Julia:
- Slowing Down in Our Family’s Fast-Paced World
- Family Game Time: The Name Game
- 3 Things I Learned on Family Vacation
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