I never thought life would do this to me – make me tired enough to forget the precious things.

It’s been a long hard year, and the grind of it all has worn me down.

But it must be true, what people say about the importance of stories, and how fundamental they are in shaping us. I guess even more so when the story is in my naming.

Some years ago, a Pakistani friend told me that my name Yasmin means “a gift from God” in Persian, named after their love for the exquisit bloom.

In Chinese culture, the jasmine is special too.

I thought this captured the blossom beautifully: “茉莉花叶色翠绿,花色洁白,香味浓厚,清雅宜人。它虽无艳态惊群,但玫瑰之甜郁,梅花之馨香,兰花之幽远,玉兰之清雅,莫不兼而有之。”

Stories about the sweet fragrance of the jasmine flower have been for me like the resonant strands you hear in your head long after the vibration of the strings soften into silence.

Smelling the jasmine-scented candle I received for Christmas, I could almost hear the beautiful song again – of fragrance released in crushing, of giving life, of blessing others.

I have always thought the sacrificial dying of oneself for the blessing of others to be beautiful.

I remembered it again now: in jasmines, but also in the Christmas story.