(Advent and Christmas reflection)
What is in a gift? How do we open a gift? Do we open the gift slowly or tear it open?
Do we honor the gift giver? and the gift?
Do we silently cherish, hold, and look intently at the gift?
or do we put aside the gift,
paying no attention to the work, love and care that went into presenting the gift?
When we receive a gift, we often look at the wrapping
and then we tear it off, as if we only want to see what is inside;
is it what we asked for? what we wanted? what we need? or just a token gift?
Then there are times when we open a gift with great thought and very slowly.
As we receive Jesus into our hearts
in the Holy Eucharist,
do we use the time prior to encountering Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
to prepare our hearts for the King?
or do we go through the motions just to fulfill our Sunday obligation?
Going through the motions, is like tearing off the paper
we miss the gift, the giver and the reason for the gift.
The gift is Jesus and eternal life with Him
the Giver is God the Father who loved us so much that He sent His only Son
into the world to redeem us,
the reason for the gift:
LOVE, PURE, UNCONDITONAL AND PERFECT LOVE.
When we take time to pray,
when we take time to see Jesus in and through our lives
it is like one who slowly unwraps the gift,
we see, appreciate and honor each moment
of the encounter between God and our self.
When we receive a gfit in a gift bag, we tend to pull the gift out of the bag and
then we look at it and choose to honor or reject it.
Do we pull Jesus out of our "gift bag" when we need Him,
or are angry at Him and need to blame someone,
or when we feel abandoned and life seems out of control?
Or are we in a relationship with Him
one that recognizes that He loves us and will never abandon us?
Do we see that God never changes,
whether we wrap Him up or put Him in gift bag.
He is the gift giver and Jesus is the gift
whether we honor the gift, ignore the gift, put the gift away or in hiding
whether we respect the gift or not
we are always living out of our human limitations.
God on the other hand
is not limited.
His mercy, His love, His compassion,
His sense of Humor are not limited,
and never end.
Jesus is the greatest gift to us
but do we realize, can we imagine, that we are God's gift to others?
Do we know that He loves us and
has created us to live in union with Him on this earth
and as we do that,
we are gifting others with a glimpse of His presence,
by how we love and care for others?
Each time you give a gift to another, you are giving a part of yourself,
the part that loves, cares and appreciates another.
You are giving someone else the gift of God
as He is revealed through you and seen in you.
As we draw nearer to the Holy Birth
let us thank Mary for saying YES and allowing God to dwell within her,
let us thank God for saying YES
when He chose to use you and me to be His instruments in His world,
that HE wants us to do His work, that HE believes in us and knows our potential.
Let us thank Jesus for coming into our world, our life, and our hearts
and for making us one with Him;
in and through our baptism into His passion, death and resurrection.
Let us thank each other for being the gift of God's presence
a Glimpse of God,
to us in and through their prayers, works, words and example.
During this Advent season,
as we prepare to recieve the Baby Jesus into our hearts,
let us pray to be open to recognize that Jesus
is the greatest gift given to humankind,
and that we have been chosen by God to receive Him.
YES. YOU AND I,
have been chosen by God
to recieve the gift of His Son Jesus into our lives forever.
As recipients do we ever say thank you to God for loving us
and presenting us with such a great and awesome gift?
Let us thank God
now, later, tomorrow, next week, on and every day
and may we never grow weary
of being a gift giver
or a recipient
because both are avenues to encouter God and His great love for us.