Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Christmas Story

A favorite tradition is the reading of the Christmas Story--particularly the account from the Gospel of Luke. This is the best Christmas "story" of all because I know it is Truth; this story gives us the true meaning of Christmas. As I was telling my chapel students, Christmas is not about getting together with family and friends; giving and receiving gifts; making and eating Christmas goodies; singing Christmas carols and seeing Christmas plays...the list could go on. The reason why we celebrate Christmas is to remember Christ's birth. The beginning of God's plan for the redemption of mankind.

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

What Child is This

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?


This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

These pictures were taken from Google Images.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

See You Next Year!

Roller skating! It has been such a long time since I've gone--probably over 10 years! I had so much fun!

We had the rink to ourselves, and we enjoyed it immensely. The younger kids and inexperienced ones learned not to give up, but to keep trying--no matter how many times they fell down. A couple older students whizzed by like pros. So, young and old great time at our end-of-the-semester activity.

After we got back from the rink, my class opened presents.

At 4:00, class ended: See you next year--literally.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In The Air

It's that time of year in the classrooms when all the kids are giddy over the upcoming break from school! We enjoyed making a gingerbread house craft that will hold each child's picture, singing Christmas songs, decorating Christmas tree cookies, opening stockings, and of course,  LOT'S of pictures :).

{All the Stinkers before Superman left for a doctor's appointment}

{Individual pictures for out Gingerbread foam house}

{l-r: Beans, Bear, Peanut, Supergirl, and Sweet Pea}

{The many faces of the Pre-school girls, Supergirl and Sweet Pea}

{My class without Superman}

{Decorating Christmas tree sugar-cookies}

Tomorrow we will open gifts in the morning {so Superman could be with us} and head off to the roller skating rink for some last-day-of-school FUN! Should be interesting!

A Different Kind Of Christmas Poem

This is in honor of our troops stationed all over the world. Men and women who will not be home for Christmas because they are standing at the front lines and defending our freedoms. Fighting so that we may celebrate the birth of Christ in peace this Christmas season.


by Michael Marks

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep

in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.

So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,

But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

and I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old

Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear

"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,

You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,

to the window that danced with a warm fire's light

then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night"

"Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,

that separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"

then he sighed, "That's a day 'Gramma always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam

And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,

But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red white and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home,

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,

I can carry the weight of killing another

or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers

who stand at the front against any and all,

to insure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright;

Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,

"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you've done,

For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

"Just tell us you love us, and never forget

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.

To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,

to know you remember we fought and we bled

is payment enough, and with that we will trust.

That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Take a moment and write a Christmas card to a recovering soldier:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington DC 20307-5001

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

This past weekend was busy with the Academy's play practices for "Come As A Child" and then the actual performance on Sunday night.

My students were the Angels...I guess the Director didn't get the memo that they are anything but when awake...

We were supposed to have the Ladies Cookie Exchange on Saturday, but a Northern Blizzard took care of that. I was going to make these:

Aren't they cute? Well, they were a DISASTER to make---sooooo putsy. Mine did not turn out like that, and *un*fortunately, I didn't take any pictures...but you can take my word for it. I was going to make them with my students, but we will just stick to basic sugar cookie cut-outs! Here is the link if you want to try it and let me know how it goes. {Edible Snowmen}
I guess it didn't matter too much since we didn't have the cookie exchange, but it irked me that the Snowmen didn't turn out...I made only 3 and of those only 1 stayed put together....the others just fell apart! I used cupcake frosting from a can, and I think that was half my problem. I will try these again sometime--since I still have all the ingredients--and hopefully they will turn out second time around.

The House still needs some TLC, but yesterday, the guys moved some of the furniture into our rooms, dining room, and living room.

{These are pictures from my room; looking out into the hallway, and down the stairs}

{These pictures are of the living/dining room and kitchen; the bats are decorations the other renters left us}

{These are pictures of the outside and the porch...I forgot to mention before that the house is connected to a sports shop--guns, bows, fishing poles--this is one of the 3 businesses in town}

{All the doors and hinges have designs on them--pretty neat}

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Moments {Joy}

When I got my mail this morning,  I was surprised to find not just two cards, but a package too!! I love getting mail!! That's one of my favorite things during Christmas time--getting letters and cards!

I got a beautiful handmade Christmas card from the LC family and also from the AK family:

Some Canadian Chocolatey Goodness from the G Clan!

When I opened my package and saw what was inside, I gave my students a little Canadian lesson. The little candies wrapped in crinkly plastic are called "rockets"--They've been named this for as long as I knew these little candies. The first time someone offered me "smarties" in the States, I said sure! Expecting candy-covered chocolate, I was surprised to find "rockets" in my hands. Huh? It seems to me that my American friends had been mislead all these years--smarties are sweet and chocolatey.....rockets are melt-in-your-mouth-turn-powder candies. So, now the record is set straight.

Anyway, after talking about "rockets" and "smarties", I must have had Canadian words on my mind. After our numbers class, I had my students put their Individual Number Cards in numerical order and told them to come get an elastic to hold the cards together. One of my boys, Bear, looked at me in puzzlement and asked what "elastic" was. Oops....I mean rubber bands--this set off another explanation of Canadian terms. In Canada we call them America, we call them rubber bands.....elastic, rubber band--same thing.

My other boy, Superman, said, "Oh! Like: I'm alive, alert, elusiastic...!" Umm, not quite that...we'll just stick to "rubber bands" and save Canadian words till 5th grade.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From the Heart

{This story I especially like because I myself am a teacher and I love the innocence and child-like love of this young boy. It also reminds me of the love I had for several of my teachers because of how much they loved me. }

I taught in the same small town where I grew up, in the same fourth-grade classroom where I was once a student. The first day of school usually brought no surprises. We knew every student, their parents and grandparents.

But this year was different. Danny had moved from Kentucky. He was the oldest of five children. Danny's dad was a truck driver and not home much, and his mom worked odd jobs when she could to help make ends meet. In October, I put Danny's name on the mitten and hat list (a program that provides mittens and hats to underprivileged children). He was so proud when he received his hat and mittens. He wore them to recess and carefully put them in his desk when he came in. After school, I was straightening the desks and a mitten fell out of Danny's desk. I opened his desk and found the other mitten and his new hat. When I questioned him, he explained that stuff got easily misplaced at home and he didn't want to lose his new things.

Danny didn't have a lot of be proud of. He wasn't a very good student, but he tried hard. His best subject was art. I knew he didn't have access to any supplies so every time he asked for paper or markers I didn't hesitate to let him have them. He was really a remarkable artist, and I incorporated several art projects into the reading curriculum that year to boost his self-esteem.

When it came time for the Christmas gift exchange, I knew I would need to help with Danny's gifts as I had done for other students. I showed him several items that I had bought for the exchange. He picked something out and was excited when I gave him wrapping paper.

The room mothers that year, bless their hearts, collected twenty-five cents from each child who could afford it and bought a present for me. I wasn't supposed to know, but not much gets by a teacher in her own classroom, especially at lunch-money time. The child would get back a quarter then giggle and put it in their pocket. Danny was on free lunch, so I was pretty sure he wouldn't be bringing a quarter. But that is the beauty of this kind of present. I would never know who contributed and who did not. The card would say it was from the whole class.

The day of the party was always exciting. We watched a Christmas movie in the afternoon. Danny asked if he could borrow some paper and markers. I didn't hesitate but I was a little surprised. he later came up and asked if he could borrow a piece of tape. I gave it to him gladly. We exchanged gifts, and then the students presented me with the object of all their quarters. I am sorry to say I don't remember what they gave me because after they left for the day, I went back to straighten my desk. I found a folded piece of red construction paper. I opened it up and read it. Before I could finish, I was crying so hard I couldn't see. The note said, "To my favorite teacher. You have always been there for me, and I really appreciate it. I couldn't afford to get you anything so I am giving you everything I have. Merry Christmas. Love Danny."

Inside was taped a dime--everything he had.

Karen Wasmer
excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Moments {Blissful Sleep}



{Sweet Pea}


{Everyone enjoying a good nap--except for Peanut}

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Born To Die

Not a palace for the little King, Nor a pillow for His bed; Not a scepter for His royal hand, Nor a crown adorns His head. Born in a manger long ago, How could the Savior love me so? He left His throne for Calvary, He came to earth for me.
Ron Hamilton

Yes, death is a natural occurrence in life: Everyone will come to the end of their life at some point.

During the Christmas season, we remember the birth of Christ. His story is found in the Gospels and is preceded by many prophets who foretold His birth. He who had no beginning and has no end, came to earth in the form of a Baby. The King of the universe deigned to be born in a stable to a humble Mother and step-Father. He had one purpose: He was born so that I might live. He was born to grow up and walk the Road of Life so that I might know He understands EVERYTHING I go through. He was born so that He could be jeered and scoffed; spat upon and mis-treated; He went to the Cross where He hung and died so that I might have eternal life. He came because He loved me so. And, He came for you--because He loves you too.

Mr. Ron Hamilton expresses it well when he penned these words:

Born To Die

On the night Christ was born,
Just before break of morn,
As the stars in the sky were fading,
O'er the place where He lay, 
Fell a shadow cold and gray
Of a cross that would humble a King.

Jesus knew when he came
He would suffer in shame;
He could feel every pain and sorrow.
But He left Paradise,
With His blood He paid the price--
My redemption to Jesus I owe.

From his throne Jesus came,
Laid aside Heaven's fame
In exchange for the cross of Calv'ry;
For my gain suffered loss,
For my sin He bore the cross--
He was wounded and I was set free.

Dearest Lord, evermore
May Thy cross I adore
As I follow the path to Calv'ry;
Of Thy death I partake,
My ambition I forsake--
All my will I surrender to Thee.


Born to die upon Calvary,
Jesus suffered my sin to forgive;
Born to die upon Calvary,
He was wounded that I might live.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On the Move

Marsh and I are going to be housemates! Since earlier this week, Marsh and I have been cleaning the Single Teacher house. The house itself is really old, but is still in pretty good shape. It was rented out to forestry students from the state university and overall they did a good job of taking care of the house. Still, Marsh and I are giving the House a thorough cleaning.

It is a two-story house with 4 bedrooms, but only one bathroom.

Here's the living room and kitchen. We took out the furniture we didn't want {what you see in the first picture} and vacuumed/shampooed the carpet today.

The kitchen is pretty small, but needs major help. That will be next weekend's job.

There is one bedroom downstairs--which will be used as an office/guest room--and three rooms upstairs. I'll have to take some pictures during the day, but the previous owners paint choices will have to go! We won't be doing any painting until the summer though, so perhaps the colors will grow on us.

All the furniture is out of all the rooms upstairs--well, almost; there's a perfectly square table that will not fit through my doorway no matter how much I maneuver--so I'll have to take the legs off and take it out that way. The hallway and stairs are both narrow, so it was interesting trying to get the old mattresses and boxsprings down. A lot of the furniture still have their manufacturer tags and the majority are from the 1980's! 

 We were able to get all the carpets vacuumed and shampooed, walls and closets cleaned, baseboards, lights....Tomorrow, we will be able to move things into our rooms! Our actual moving date is not until the first of January, but with school until 4:00 and Christmas break in 11 days {which we will be spending with Marsh's parents in the Milwaukee area}, we don't have much time! But, I'm starting to get excited. And I'm starting to get ideas about decorating. Do you know what my absolute favorite part of The House--it has a screened porch! Right now it's holding a lot of the excess furniture until we can get some men to move it, but in the spring...Glass of iced tea in one hand and a good book in the other...ahhh....I can't wait for warm weather!

I'll keep you updated as we make The House a home.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

My kids were super excited when they came to class yesterday. It was the day to put our Christmas tree up! They had so much fun putting the decorations up as well as our Nativity scene.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Gift of the Magi

I love the Christmas season. Of the many reasons that come to mind, foremost are stories about Christmas. Works of fiction or truth, I love reading and re-reading the stories. One of my favorites is the "Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry.

I remember the first time I read this short story in my Literature class during high school. I did not expect its ending--which, O. Henry is known for his surprise endings. I don't really remember what we discussed after reading the story, but I do know that I am impressed by the love they had for each other and were willing to give what little they had but also what was their most prized possession. They gave from their hearts.

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

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 pierglass 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.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Literature Network » O Henry » The Gift Of The Magi