This holiday season, gift like the Magi

By - Jan 1st 1970

We have entered the festive season which comes with various obligations, more so on us men. Soon, swooning women will be asking wababas-what are you buying me for this Christmas? The answer to this question is sometimes the cause of many heartbreaks.

Look, ladies, if you are married to a son of Mumbi who believes in stashing all his money in a tea Sacco, accept your choices. Expecting him to take you to Seychelles over Christmas as Nyanza men do is like expecting a goat to lay eggs. Even if you fed it on layers’ mash for a year and gave it a chicken-ish nickname like Cluck, it won’t. If you love someone, you are always joined with them – in their stinginess or in their magnanimity.

Gifts should not be taken at their face value. Rather, they should be viewed on the giver’s level of sacrifice. When a bodaboda hustler who earns Sh500 per day forgoes his daily jug of keg for a week and buys his wife a kitenge and matching kamisi for Christmas, that sacrifice is bigger than a million-dollar cheque. When a mubaba foregoes his monthly savings meant to buy a plot at Kenol and takes his lady to a smoky joint for choma and some mugithi, that’s a huge sacrifice.

The Bible, a book that I hold in high esteem for its enduring moral lessons, has a say in this. It’s contained in that story of the widow who tithed all that she had. The good book honours her for her sacrifice as she gave more than the wadosi who gave gold coins.

Gift of the Magi test

The Gift of the Magi-a timeless short story written in the 1920s captures this aptly too. It tells of a modest couple that was deeply in love. Each wanted to give the best he or she could to the other. The wife wanted to give his husband a gold chain to hang his watch with so that it wouldn’t get lost. On his part, the husband wanted to gift his wife with a hair clip to hold her beautiful hair together. However, each had no money to buy what they wanted to gift the other.

The wife sold her hair to purchase a golden chain for the husband’s watch. The husband sold his watch to buy the wife the hair clip to tie her hair together.

When they met at home, each had the other’s gifts, yes, but both had no use for the gift since the man had already sold his watch and the woman her hair. However, each had sacrificed the most precious thing they had to purchase the gift. But it turns out that anything you lose for love comes back in another form for their love emerged stronger than ever.

The story’s title-The Gift of the Magi-is borrowed from the three wise wazee who came to see baby Jesus after his birth. They didn’t bring him mbocori because it was winter or toys because it was a baby boy. Instead, they brought Jesus gold, myrrh, and frankincense. These three gifts were informed by wisdom since their value lay not in their commercial worth but in their timeless symbolism. And that is the essence of gifting.

Happy holidays people.

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