“Daddy, why do we all receive gifts on Jesus’s birthday?” A 10-year-old Shermeen asked her father on their ride home from school. He paused as if to collect his thoughts and then began to tell her a story.
“Once upon a time, a Radiant Star hung over a stable heralding the birth of the Prince of Peace. Wise men travelled long distances from their respective kingdoms to pay homage to the Divine Child. They brought with them the finest of birthday gifts. They tarried for a little while in this stable and then returned to their homeland far away from the child.
As an unfulfilled man looks back on the prime of his youthful vigor, so did these wise men relive their long journey to the stable, guided by the Radiant Star. That was the high point of their lives! ‘What became of the Child?’ They often wondered. The melancholic remembrance of their journey lay in the realization of a failed obligation towards the Child. Each gave the finest of material gifts but failed to give themselves in service of the newborn Prince. They abandoned the Prince of Peace whose life they could have smoothed with their wealth.
Sadly this tradition continued long after the time of the wise men. In remembrance of Holy Night on the 25th day each December, man gives the finest of gifts to their loved ones but fail to rededicate themselves to the service of that Peace which the Divine Child brought to mankind.”
“Daddy, does that mean it is wrong to give Christmas gifts?” “No dear, but the purpose of our giving ought to be directed towards spreading that which the Divine Child brought to mankind. Give not out of obligation, but out of love. Give not what brings fleeting pleasures but what awakens the best in the other. But most of all, give yourself to peace, cease not to strive until your whole being is swallowed up in peace.”