coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they
bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures
and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and
of myrrh. Matthew2:11
What can I give on Christmas Day to those
I love and care about? What gift can reflect
what I feel for them?
For friends and family, I want to show my regard, my love, my esteem and
respect, all intertwined in the gift I hand to them on Christmas morning; a testament of
appreciation for the care and devotion they have given to me throughout the year. And so, I find myself carefully watching their
faces as they open that gift so I can rejoice in the joy I see on their faces.
Perhaps you remember the Christmas story about a man who punished his 3-year old
daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became angry when the child
tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree for him. Nevertheless, the little girl proudly brought the
gift to her father on Christmas morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."
The father was embarrassed by his earlier over-reaction, but his anger flared
again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, "Dont you know
when you give someone a present, theres supposed to be something inside it?" The little girl looked up at him with tears
in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, its not empty, I blew kisses and love into
the box. All for you, Daddy."
He put his arms around his little girl, and begged for her forgiveness. Soon after, an accident took the life of the child
and it is told that the man kept that precious gold box by his bed for many years and
whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of
the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, we are given a beautiful present filled with
unconditional love and kisses from our heavenly Father.
Maybe to some people it appears to be an empty box like the special gift the child
gave her father. Some may think it has no value and they may toss it aside as useless.
If we are blessed to recognize its worth, we will keep it within our hearts,
letting it reflect and shine out for everyone to see, for God's gift is filled with
amazing grace and promises for each of us.
But what can I, as a Christian, possibly give to God in return for all He has
already given to me in great abundance and mercy, even to the point of giving and
sacrificing His Only Son? After all,
everything I have, including my earthly possessions came from Him and through Him.
What can I give You, Lord?
There are many things pleasing to God. The most special are the gifts of
trust, belief and faith in Him. And with
this, I willingly give worship and my unconditional love.
We are called, as Catholic Christians, not only to
give thanks to God but to put our thanks into action. It must extended into our
daily living for we are called to be stewards of our heavenly Father; giving back
generously to others in need, helping the poor and the feeble, and letting our deeds,
behavior, conduct, and our voices lead others to Christ. God asks that we
share the precious gifts He has given to us with all who pass our way. Through His unaccountable generosity to us, we stand before Him in humble
recognition and gratitude. Through all these things, something of value is
given to God.
God is worthy to be worshiped and praised for He has blessed us with life and
the joy of His promises. The word worship comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word
'worth-ship,' meaning the act of giving worth or value to a person or object. Value means respect and worth, excellence or
importance; something that is regarded or esteemed. John 4:23-24 declares "...A
time is coming and has now come when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and
truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and and
His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Before Jesus Christ came, there was a time the leaders and priests in Israel
were not honoring and worshiping God with their gifts. They chose to give imperfect
offerings as restitution for their sins. Malachi 1: 8 tells us, When you bring
blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased
animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with
you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty.
Today, we do not give God
sacrifices upon the sacred altars the Old Testament writes about. And we no longer worry
about giving the finest of our flock as perfect offerings for sin. Jesus Christ came
down to earth over two thousand years ago to be our perfect sacrifice. He was the
only one Who could take on the sins of countless generations, once and for all time, if
they accept His precious gift. It is because of this mighty sacrifice, we show honor
and love to God for all He has done for us.
Imagine a child who has been given a new
toy from his parents. He loves this toy, playing with it from early morning until
bedtime, but if he sees that one of his parents is sad, he may offer his precious toy,
unconditionally giving through love the one prize he feels is worthy. This is
something of value that the child has given back at a cost.
Let us put God first on our Christmas list, remembering the one most
important gift of all that we must give; our hearts and our souls, simply and with
thankfulness, without expecting recompense. Let our thanks be an ever pleasing gift to Him Who is
pure and without blemish.
Will you give the best gifts you have to the Lord of love and faithfulness? Your abilities? Your time? Or will you give him your leftovers as an
afterthought or a duty you feel you must do?
Are you giving Him Something of Value?"
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
and whosoever believeth on Him will not perish but have
everlasting life." John
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