The spirit of Hans Christian Andersen lives on: Cynthia Lamanna’s The Gift


In practice the gift started out years ago, in a room two sisters shared; before Hans Christian Andersen weaved magical tales before their eyes; From its inception, before its place and time in history, before its most real manifestation, the gift glistened, standing apart from all other gifts; the hair ribbons, the ruffled Christmas dresses, ringlet haired dolls and pink stuffed animals.


Mesmerized by the gift, the two sisters delighted in its velvet lining, and exquisite design. With open little arms and hearts, the gift was received with unmeasured joy and expressions of child felt gratitude. The gift was a testimonial to others; children, neighbors, young and old. Adults would nod and smile, perhaps in remembrance of their own gifts, once cherished as well…. In their midst, a gift was given, taken for its true value, and like any wonderful thing it was an inspiration.


Through passages of time, and all kinds of seasons, the gift remained untarnished but the hearts of the recipients turned colder and changed colors; from the pastel shades of trusting little girls, to murky greens and competitive reds. The gift was tested, tossed about, questioned, overshadowed, and even rejected. From a serpents shore, a fog arose, attempting to blur the indelible character of the gift giver himself, so that, the sisters would in time guard their other gifts first, shifting the placement of the gifts priority to a back closet, instead of displaying it as a thing of beauty, as a child does in the hierarchy of his ornaments and toys.


For a long season, the gift was left standing in a frozen still life mode. No one bothered to go near the dying yellowing leaves that were falling off of a flourishing green tree. At this juncture, neither invested much of themselves in this gift. Weddings, and birth announcements, filled their young lives, and May to December picnics with new friends.


Well meaning attempts were made throughout the ensuing years. Phone calls, and letters of good cheer; the resounding joy that both now shared a faith in the gift giver on a very personal note. Before the dawn of their middle years, in a feeling of Christmas, the sisters realized that time was ticking.


They would look upon the gift with a  reverent gaze, and tiptoe softly past it (as a sleeping child), again lit up with the glow of that first decade of enduring memories when the gift was so new, and loved for itself; for who could forget the true glory of such a gift. One or the other would start to embrace and reawaken the gift, only to find along with the true joy, some mysterious counterfeit interior to deeper realms; places that they did not wish to visit or recreate, for different reasons; perhaps the fear of stirring up the ghost of an angry Father, or the sleeping lions of complacency.


The sisters cried out to God; one lamenting the loss of her trust, the other her full spectrum of childhood in its innocence. By the middle years, these sisters had long suffered grief, & a multitude of fools. Though thought to make one strong it was vexing to the heart. True conviction, burned silently away. After smoldering in a lake of embers, land mines would erupt randomly, & misdirected bullets from old family battles would come between each other, and the gift. This was truly a war waged in opposition to their soul’s desire.


Even so, the gift was still a gift; intact, and given from a perfect giver, the Father of lights, who spared not even the gift above all, that of his beloved son, for the benefit of his children. None could destroy a gift such as this; His beauteous gift, and plan of salvation, not made with human hands, not warranted, or earned. This gift called Jesus was not summoned by vain bids, or cajoled by promises of a return gift equal in value. He has given a multitude of gifts; among them the gift of a beautiful friendship to two sisters.


It has been sorely tested, in spirit a diamond in the fires, vibrant, and alive as ever;  In the physical realm, it appears a hollowed out jigsaw of  the greater treasure it once was in the splendor of  early childhood years when there was no forethought, guile, or jaded perceptions.

The gift will go on. Two sisters will determine its worth to themselves, and their part in a whole-hearted pursuit of its contents, the optimum blessings thereof, and ultimately the holy purpose for which the giver intended.

With all their vices and virtues, a true yielding to their Savior, and with a willingness to go forward in renewed passion, may they place the star of this gift above some others, and let it shine once again for Christ’s sake and God’s kingdom come.


Cynthia Lamanna has over the years written a variety of short and longer pieces: essays, short stories, devotionals, and work in other genres. She’s looking for opportunities for publication – freelance or agented – and can be reached at She would also be interested in any feedback related to self-publishing companies and/or paid freelance writing sites.

2 thoughts on “The spirit of Hans Christian Andersen lives on: Cynthia Lamanna’s The Gift”

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