The Gift of the Magi

I think of being caught up in our culture’s maddening gluttony of this season and how I often would lose sight of what this season is about.

By Chaplain Steve Lee, Founder of POM

Edits and additions (prologue & epilogue)

 by Rev. Frank C. Ruffatto current Executive Director, POM

with apologies to O. Henry



“But when the right time came, God sent his Son into the world.

A woman gave birth to Him, and He came under the control of God's laws.

God sent Him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws

so that we would be adopted as His children.”

(Galatians 4:4-6)

While I have some great childhood memories of Christmas, I now very often think of the Christmases I have shared with my wife and our kids over the years. I think of being caught up in our culture’s maddening gluttony of this season and how I often would lose sight of what this season is about.

One Christmas Eve, while moonlighting as security at a large toy store, I recall just being angry over the foolishness of people clashing over the last of a certain toy or game, not to mention the folks who would run to the door as we were closing it cursing our very existence for it. But, “hey I have a family too; and, I’d like to get back to them this evening!” As a young officer, I felt I needed the extra cash the moonlighting job would bring so that somehow I could bring my family the best Christmas ever. Again, I was missing the point; as my bride and my daughters would testify, “it is being together and sharing our faith that was most important.”

Yet, I have also seen folks who seem to get it and demonstrate it in small kindnesses to each other, helping and giving to another … at just the right time.

For you officers (and chaplains) – young and old – I pray for and encourage you (especially in light of the dangerous nature of your work) to be there at just the right time for your families; it will be the best gift you can give.

Christmas Crunch

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea when Herod was king. After Jesus' birth wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, ‘Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to worship him.’ When King Herod and all Jerusalem heard about this, they became disturbed.”

(Matthew 2:1-3)

Gazing at the light snow just outside the dining room window Donna broke her brief reverie and looked at the account balance again. She was more than disturbed; all she could do was shake her head.  No way could she buy her Travis a decent Christmas present – certainly not one that could hold a candle to her love for him.  Not with his rookie deputy’s paycheck.  Not after paying bills and buying groceries.  Not with quitting her job.  Not with the baby coming.  She peeked under the checkbook perched on her tabletop of a swollen stomach, and wrinkled her nose.  So much for “family planning.” When they got married, less than a year ago, she and Travis made a half-hearted attempt at birth control, but both wanted a family, and besides, she could say anything but no to Travis, and Travis, God bless him, was impulsive – especially around her, it seemed.  I hope he has better sense on the street, she thought with mock seriousness, or he’ll never survive.  She stuck her tongue out at her absent husband, who, being at work as usual unfortunately wasn’t available for her to harass.  Just then a tiny foot poked her in the ribs, and she smiled with anticipation.  Oh well, like her folks always said, “might as well have ‘em – can’t ever afford ‘em anyway.”

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