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Posted on: Dec 26, 2015
A Box of Love
Maria worked as a teacher in a school. She loved interacting with kids and teaching them. She was a devout Christian and like any other Christian, she too loved Christmas. She knew that the festival of Christmas is for celebrating the advent of Jesus Christ. She also knew that Christmas is the time for giving and sharing, laughter and fun. She loved the fact that Christmas paved way for bonding and celebrating with family and friends and included a lot of tinsel and brightly decorated packages.
But one thing that she did not realise was that Christmas is mostly about love. This is something Maria understood one Christmas when a tiny student of hers with innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave her a precious gift.
Tony was an 11-year-old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle-aged lady who was quite irritated about having to take care of her dead sister's son. The aunt never failed to remind young Tony that if it hadn't been for her generosity he would be homeless. However, despite her scolding and coldness towards him, Tony was a sweet and gentle fellow.
Maria had not paid much attention to Tony until he started staying at the end of each day to help her straighten up the class room. They both did this quietly, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that time. However on the few occasions when they did chat, Tony spoke mostly of his mother. Although he had been quite small when she died, he remembered a loving and gentle lady, someone who had always spent a lot of time with him.
As Christmas drew near, Tony failed to stay back after school. Maria looked forward eagerly to his coming every day but days passed and he continued to leave in a hurry after school hours.
One afternoon she stopped Tony and asked why he no longer stayed back. She told him how she missed him and his large grey eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”
Maria explained how Tony had been her best helper. It was then that Tony whispered “I was making you a surprise for Christmas.” He then ran away from the room. He never stayed back after school anymore.
Maria was quite curious to know what he was making. But she had to wait until Christmas. Soon the last school day before Christmas arrived. After class that day, Tony crept up to the table where Maria sat. He had something hidden behind his back. When Maria looked up, he said “I have your present. I hope you like it.”
He then lovingly held out his little hands and in his small palms lay a tiny wooden box.
Maria said, “It's beautiful, Tony. Is there something in it?” as she opened the top of the box to look inside.
Tony replied “Oh! You can't see what's in it and you can't touch it, taste it or feel it, but my mother always said that it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you're all alone.”
Maria was surprised on hearing this reply. She gazed into the empty box and said “What is it Tony that will make me feel so good?”
Tony whispered softly, “It's love and my mother always said that it's best when you give it away.”
Then he turned and quietly left the room.
Maria had a tear in her eye. She then took the box home and kept it on the piano in her living room that same evening.
From then on whenever her friends came home to meet her, seeing this small box crudely made of scraps of wood on her piano they would ask her what it contained. She would smile and explain to them that there is love in the box, even as they raised quizzical eyebrows.
Yes, Christmas is for merriment and mirth, song and dance, and giving and receiving gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.
On December 25, 1994, Baba said, “What is it that men should acquire today? It is the broadening of the heart so that it may be filled with all-embracing love. Only then the sense of spiritual oneness of all mankind can be experienced. Out of that sense of unity will be born the love of God. This love will generate pure bliss in the heart that is boundless, indescribable and everlasting. For all forms of bliss, love is the source. A heart without love is like a barren land. Foster love in your hearts and redeem your lives.”
Illustrations: Ms. Lyn Kriegler, New Zealand
- Radio Sai Team
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