In O.Henry’s famous story, ‘THE GIFT OF THE MAGI,” he tells the story of a husband and wife who had no money that year to buy Christmas gifts for each other. But each was determined to find a way to give to the other, to let their spouse know how truly they are loved.

The husband owned a beautiful pocket watch that she knew he cherished, but had no way to carry it without a chain that would attach to the watch, and on the other end attach to his vest. His wife had beautiful thick long hair that he so admired, but she owned no fancy combs to hold it in place.

On Christmas Eve morning, the husband went to work as usual, but by the end of the day he had stopped at the store and purchased a set of combs for his wife. Meantime, while he was busy at work for the day, his equally determined wife went to the jewelry store and bought a beautiful pocket watch chain for him.That evening, she tenderly gave her husband a simply wrapped small box that held the unique gold chain. At the same time, he excitedly pulled out his gift of love from his pocket and gave it to his wife.

Upon opening the tiny boxes, each must have had the most tearful shock of their lives.

For unbeknown to each other, they each had sacrificed greatly to give a love gift to their beloved spouse. The wife had cut off great lengths of her gorgeous hair and sold it to a wig shop, then returned home and piled her now much shorter hair on top of her head to disguise what she had done. And her husband…he had sold his beautiful pocket watch for the price of the combs to give his adored wife.

That couple experienced a wonderful truth that night. The greatest gift wasn’t in the tiny boxes they held, but rather the love and sacrifice each had made for the other.

Folks, God gave the first Christmas Gift out of His tremendous love and compassion for us. Jesus, the tiny Babe in the manger, was a gift none of us deserved. But God’s love for us drove Him to send His only Son to live a sinless life here on earth, and at the end sacrifice his life on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

All we have to do? Drop our pride, realize we are sinners, believe He was born to die for our sins, and cry out to Him for forgiveness. In other words…take the free gift that was handed to you, and in love and gratitude live the rest of your life for Him.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. We sing it, we say it, we decorate our homes and businesses for it, we throw extravagant get-togethers for it, as everyone acknowledges this beautiful holiday. We purchase gifts for the loved ones in our life, and we also purchase gifts out of obligation. It is the focal point of the year.

But sometimes in all the flurry and scurry, we forget that Christmas began with the greatest Gift of all time.