No power short of that which love possesses is able to inspire the bliss and agony expressed within the pages of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” Love: timeless and eternal. Della, the dubious heroine, illustrates the full range of emotions which love pulls her through. Della finds herself “…flop[ping] down on the shabby little couch and howl[ing]” with despair at the thought of being unable to purchase a meaningful gift for her husband. Her despair later gives way to an “ecstatic scream of joy.”
“The Gift of the Magi,” as a story, matters because it speaks to the bright mountaintops of our soul where love flourishes and spreads its wings; just as it speaks to those dark corners where fear maintains its stranglehold.
The significance is found through the locks of hair and tears dropping to the feet of a woman. It is a gift that washes away all of the pain and despair: sacrifice.
The sacrifice of brilliant tresses for a husband.
The sacrifice of generations of memory for a wife.
The sacrifice of safety for the chance to honor a king.
The sacrifice of a Son for those who are unworthy.
The value of a gift is not on the tag it carries, but on the price one’s heart desires to pay.