On 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

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, "Don’t you know when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside it?"   The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it’s 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.”    

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.

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?"

For 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 3:16

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