Gifts from heart not measured by cost Published Nov. 21, 2007 By Master Sgt. Chris Bottoms 301st Civil Engineer Squadron Fort Worth, TEXAS -- If you're like most people, you are facing one of the most difficult decisions of the year: trying to find the right gift for the right person. You want to be efficient with your time and money, but still convey your love or friendship for others by what you give. I have a friend whose mother-in-law would always leave the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (translation: if you paid this amount, you paid too much) tag on the gifts she would give in order to let him and his wife know the "cost" of the gift they were being given. The Scriptures tell us about wise men from the East, the Magi, who were the first givers of Christmas gifts. They traveled long distances to honor the Child in the manger by bringing gifts. They demonstrated that they realized all they had belonged to God by giving back to the King of Heaven appropriate and valuable gifts. In O. Henry's short story, The Gift of the Magi, Jim and Della, a poor, young couple, search for the perfect gift to give to each other. Della decides to sell her most prized possession (her long, beautiful hair) to buy a watch chain for her husband. Jim sells his most precious possession (his grandfather's gold watch) to buy expensive combs for his wife's beautiful hair. Jim and Della, at first glance, did not seem to give "wise" gifts, but they did give the best kind of gifts: those that involved sacrifice and love of another. But the real reason for the season is the original gift-giver, God, and the giving of His Son. The circumstances around which the Advent of the Christ occurred were neither expensive nor extravagant when He gave us the gift of the ages. He gave us His most precious gift, not out of obligation, but out of love, to bring back people who have gone astray. Even if your faith is different from Christianity, the tradition in America is to celebrate this season with gift-giving. You, as a member of the 301st Fighter Wing, know what it means to sacrifice. You give your time and part of your life to serve for the greater good of your friends, families and nation. So when you go out to buy gifts for your friends and family, remember, the value of the gift is not measured by the price tag, but by the honor and condition of your heart when you select and give the gift. And the best gift you can give this season is to offer up yourself in service to God and others.