Generosity and love
By Jeanne Hunt
It’s early November, and I’m driving a loaner while my car is at the mechanic. The car’s radio comes blaring on when I turn on the engine. It’s on one of those “All Christmas, All the Time” stations. Suddenly, I’m listening to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” It’s not even Thanksgiving, and the whole world is begging us to get in the mood of the feast. The only possible reason is to convince us to start our Christmas shopping early.
By now, we should have all those gifts purchased. Every overachieving elf personality has done the deed. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree that was wrestled into place sometime in October.
There’s a Clapper for Grandma, a Lint Lizard for Aunt Joan, and a Chia Pet for cousin Jennifer. We have a wrapped surprise for each person we earnestly believe will be giving us a Christmas gift. Two things are apparent: first, we have nothing for those who cannot afford to give us a gift. Second, the star of the show, Jesus Christ, is getting nothing.
So, Jesus wants to give us a few items that He wants for Christmas. Here is the bonus: these gifts include free shipping and require only one price, Incarnate Love! They are:
- A Black Sheep. Jesus would like the gift of a lost sheep on Christmas. Bring someone to Christmas Mass who has been missing from the pews. Then, invite your sheep to Mass again after the holidays.
- A Sacred-Time Watch. Jesus would love it if we devoted Sunday to Mass and family. Too many of his favorite people are ignoring Him in favor of sports tournaments for ten-year-olds and the NFL. Spend December Sundays with your church family and the people you love.
- A Tithing Gift Card. Tithing is also a gift Jesus wouldn’t mind receiving. Giving 10 percent of our weekly income to God would make His church budget less of a worry to his hardworking pastors. After all, Jesus has a great investment plan; He promises to return your contribution “a hundredfold”!
- A Door Stopper. Jesus would love for every Catholic church to open wide the doors to all those who have left the fold. We proclaim “Come home.” Yet so many of those we love have left the church because of divorce, anger with a pastoral decision. etc. If each of us could work toward reconciliation with just one person, Jesus’ heart would soar with delight.
- Our Sins. Surprisingly, Jesus wants our sins. Nothing would please our Savior more than to see us at the parish Reconciliation Service. Especially if we haven’t celebrated this sacrament for years. All we need to do is say, “Father, I haven’t been to confession for years. Will you help me?” In that moment of mercy, you will literally feel God’s love.
Finally, there is just one more thing that the Messiah would love this Christmas:
- A Child. Can you find a child who has not heard the Christmas story and tell him the wondrous tale? On Christmas Eve, turn off the noisy world, sit with a little one, and tell the story. Show the child the crèche and let her hold the figures as you share this mystery of the sacred night. When we see and hear the story through a child’s eyes, something changes in our hearts as well.
Our Jesus wants all these things for only one reason: when we give our lives to Him, we receive far more than we could ever imagine. Let us fill the days of Advent and Christmas with generosity and love!
Hunt is a nationally recognized catechetical leader and author.