I have to admit, as a young child, Christmas was (almost) all about the presents. Celebrating baby Jesus’ birthday, dressing up for Mass and spending time (and eating!) with family was fun, but the greatest excitement was waking up Christmas morning, running downstairs and seeing all the presents under the tree. Although parents try to explain that this special time of year is really about the giving and not the getting, a young person cannot help but be thrilled with all the boxes, colorful wrapping paper and shiny new things.
Of course, they are just things – stuff – stuff that does not fulfill us in the long term. As we get a bit older and a little wiser, we begin to understand what St. Francis meant when he said, “It is in giving that we receive.” In addition, we begin to recognize and appreciate the intangible gifts that have been given to us by God – spiritual gifts, our faith, our family, our friends, our health, our talents, etc.
We feel gratitude and are sincerely satisfied when we share those gifts, those graces from God. Here at SVdP, we are blessed to see how sharing these gifts make a real, true, positive difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. We are grateful to our volunteers, benefactors and supporters for sharing their gifts, so that we are able to help those who call on us – for food, for a place to call home (rent and utility assistance), for healing, for compassion, for hope, and for love.
My wish is for all of us to come away from this Advent and Christmas season renewed and awake to the presence of God among us. Let’s find God where God is to be found. Let’s be attentive and surprised and ready to bow down in adoration and to offer our gifts, because giving is the best gift of all!