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Amahl’s Only Gift | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Amahl’s Only Gift

Amahl’s mother was not having the best of all possible winters.  She lived outside of Bethlehem, near the shepherds.  Her husband was dead.  Her only son could barely walk with the help of a crutch.  She struggled, but finally, they had nothing left.  One dark evening, she prepared their final fire.  The food was gone.  She had no money.  She braced herself to either beg with her son or starve to death.

But her son, the lonely boy with a home-made crutch noticed a star in the sky.  Visitors came to their home that evening – three wise men from a faraway land.

Thus begins the story of Amahl, a children’s opera written fifty years ago.  It’s the story of the first Christmas, told from the perspective of poor shepherds, a desperate widow, and a lame boy.  We see the wise men seeking a new king.

At the end of the story, we see great gifts of tribute offered to the new king – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

But Amahl offers a greater gift to the king.  He offers his crutch.  It’s the only thing he has. Wonderful things happen because Amahl gives his only possession to the Christ Child.

Amahl’s gift to the Christ Child can be a lesson and comfort for us all.  In the years when the Christmas table is covered with a feast and the stockings are stuffed to breaking, say thanks to God.  Treasure those years.

There may be other years when the feast is simple, the stockings are nearly empty,  and life is a struggle.

Our greatest gifts to God may come in the barren years.  We give what we have – whatever we have.  When we do so, God blesses us beyond measure, in ways we could never anticipate.

They may be material blessings but are likely to be blessings of the heart.  A single smile can ease the burden of a sorrow-laden holiday season.

The real table of plenty is the one God serves to our hearts and souls.  We may discover it when we give what we have – whatever it is – to honor the newborn king.

If this Christmas stocking has more poignant sorrow than happiness this season, take heart.  You are not alone, and the Christ Child is still there for you.  He already gave you the most precious gift He had – Himself.

Want to add Amahl to your music and DVD collection? Visit my Amazon affiliate store!

(More information on Amahl and the Night Visitors:

Amahl and the Night Visitors was written by Gian Carlo Menotti.  It’s the first children’s opera written for television; the one act production first aired on NBC in 1951.  It’s been performed around the world at Christmas.

Recordings and children’s books can introduce the story to your family.   Check your local library.  Whittlesey House published a nice children’s early reader version of Amahl in 1952.  Morrow publishers printed a beautiful picture book in 1986.

If you’re a trivia buff, the special effects from this television production were later used in the opening sequence of the Dr. Who series, which aired on BBC 1963-1966.)


2 Responses to “Amahl’s Only Gift”

  1. sheila browning December 4, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Thank you Mary, I love reading your blogs, delicious food for my soul, I always leave the table full.

  2. Brayden March 1, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

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