The Giving of Gifts

MERRY CHRISTMAS /EID MUBARAK/ HAPPY DIWALI

The giving of Gifts is no easy task

Be it Eid
Or Diwali
Or Christmas
Or a Birthday
Or an Annivesary

It is never easy to find the right gift for people you love

The Magi
Had a problem of excess
Of riches
And not enough
Pragmatism
What would a Babe
born in a manger
Do with Gold , Frankincense or Myrhh?

But it’s the thought that counts
And they came a long way
And ‘ a cold coming they had of it ‘
And they were a bit late too

They followed the Star
They paid obeisance
They proffered their gifts
They worshipped the Holy Babe
And they left
Stiff and formal
Old and deemed to be wise
After all they were Kings
Royalty of the Golden Orient
Masters of untold wealth and power
But on that journey
Mere pilgrims
And Love was their gift

One is not told what Mary
Or Joseph
Did with those gifts
They would not have been of much use to shepherd boys

Perhaps the Innkeeper kept them
His wife
Or mistress
May have liked the gold
The myrhh and the frankincense

You never hear of Christ ever using them
Though Mary Magdalene
Did wash His feet
And anoint them with nard
And perhaps His body too
When it was removed from the Cross
Before burial

With the Resurrection
That story had a happy ending
The message became one of joy

O Henry remembered this
In his story of Jim and Della
And their heartbreakingly inappropriate
But lovingly meant
Gifts for one another
At Christmas
Though tears flowed
And hearts were nearly broken
Love triumphed
For the Gift was Love

Often the problem is poverty
Or lack of means

Yeats’ Aedh
Wished for the Cloths of Heaven
To give to his Beloved
But ” being poor “
Had only his dreams
To be trodden on

Tread softly , he said
And the Gift was Love

Premchand’s little Haamid
Resisting the temptations of toys and sweets and joyrides
Buys a humble ‘ chimta’
for his mother with his Eid money
So she won’t burn her fingers while making chapatis
There too
Love is the Gift

So this Eid
I wonder what I should give you
My dearly beloved friends
Who have fasted and prayed
A full lunar month
And kept me in your prayers too

I would give you dates
And vermicelli
Greeting cards
And flowers
And grain to the madarsa
And flour to the poor
Who gather in hope outside the mosque
As was my mother’s wont

But what I would really like to gift you
A world full of peace
Love and brotherhood
As the Prophet taught
And as the Almighty decreed
In the Holy Quran

A world where we all feel happy and secure
A world without hatred
A world without war
A world without poverty misery and want

Alas the gift is beyond my reach
Alas no amount of my wishing makes it true
Alas what you deserve
I can’t give to you

For in this I am poor
And have only my dreams

If only if only my dreams could really come true
I’d gift a whole world
Of peace hope and joy
happiness love and brotherhood to you!

Meanwhile, my heartfelt prayers must do

This Diwali

I could gift you Diyas
Sparklers and Fireworks
I could gift you Sweets
Jalebi and Gulabjamun
I could gift you
Puffed rice and Candy toys
I could make you
A sweet little doll’s house
A Gharaunda full of grain-goodies
And sticky cane gur
I could gift you metal gifts
Signs and symbols of prosperity

But I want to gift you
Real joy in your ancient faith
Reviving its openness
It’s naturalness its humanity
It’s simple confidence and healthy scepticism
It’s deities who smile and dance and play
It’s joy in life and fearlessness of death
It’s infinite variety and celebration
Of the myriadness of the universe
It’s music and harmony
I want to gift you
True pride and true forgiveness
True love for the universal family
A total absence of ill will
A total commitment to truth
Total victory over evil
A Goodness at one with Nature

I would find you where you are lost
( How much I miss you ! )
To those that fight the good fight
I would gift you absolute strength
That makes for absolute gentleness
I would return to you your ease
I would lend you reinforcements
Restore the innocence of your comfort
Reassure you of your radiance

But I have only hope left
My precious Hope
The Light of my Life
I gift to you

May the Festival of Lights
Bring Light to you !

Sweet friends,
I wish
Eid Mubarak to you !

( And my Gift is Love )

Sweet friends,
I wish you a Happy Diwali !

( And my Gift is Light )

Sweet Friends,
I wish you a Merry Christmas !

( And my Gift is Peace )

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