Presents & Stocking Stuffers
46 Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! 47 In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. 48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored 49 because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. 50 He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. 51 He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. 52 He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. 54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, 55 just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”
“He had the birthday, we got the gift” is a line from the song The Gift and it is very true and when Jesus was born, the world received one of the greatest gifts ever conceived. God came to us, united with us and lived among us. It is almost a little trite to remind people that we give gifts to one another because in Jesus’ birth we received so much, and we want to remember it yearly. But this is an important truth, and it needs to be remembered continuously, especially when we celebrate the uniting of God with humanity. We often think that God’s gift is limited to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; but the stunning fact of the incarnation should not be overlooked. The Idea of God loving us so much that GOD would enter the world as a human is by any definition overwhelming and cannot be taken lightly. This being said, we must also never forget the sacrifice of God in the cross and that gift-giving inherently involves some level of sacrifice. Each time we show our love for someone in giving a gift, we have the opportunity to reflect on the love of God in the giving of Jesus to us and how our love in gift-giving reflects the love of God.
Gift-giving also helps us remember the gifts of the magi who visited Jesus shortly after his birth. In giving gifts to one another we can remember that God allowed those individuals to give gifts to Jesus, and continues to allow us to give gifts to God. We participate with God in the mission of perfecting creation. Each time we give a gift, we have the chance to help make creation a little more of what God wants it to be. Think of St. Nicholas placing gold coins in the stockings of the poor. We still remember that generous act in hanging and filling our stockings every Christmas. St. Nicholas was using the act of gift-giving to help bring creation in line with what God desires. He gave gifts to help eliminate the concept of poverty.
Gracious and generous God, you have given me far greater gifts than I deserve or could ask for; help me I pray to show your love to my world through the gifts which I give, and may I never forget to celebrate your gifts. In the name of Jesus, the greatest gift. Amen
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