When I was in school, from elementary at Saint Justin all the way through my time at Gonzaga, I recall this question when getting back from vacation: What did you get for Christmas? There were some years when I proudly sported a new pair of shoes or a great backpack. Other years, I remember clearly understanding that other families had more disposable income than we, but I was always delighted with what Santa, and later my parents, provided.
We had stockings filled with goodies, including the traditional orange. How many of you received an orange in your stocking? I was the fifth of six children, so often there was a bit of “recycling” involved in our gifts. If you’ve read my articles over these years you know that I’m pretty sure my dad was perfect. One year, he renovated my older sisters’ bikes for my sister Corey and me. We were thrilled.
The gifts I have received from family and friends have of course changed over the years. The reason has not. They were given out of friendship, affection, love. What I “want,” and what I appreciate has evolved over the years as well. I now cherish “experiences” with my family over “things.” I savor “together moments.”
What did we ALL get for Christmas? The greatest gift, born of the greatest love.
“Look, do not be afraid. I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.” Luke 2:10
The most common response to a gift is gratitude. Similarly, the most common response to the gift of faith is gratitude. It is this gratitude that propels us to a life of service.
What will we do about it? That’s simple. Make the kingdom of God more present for others. Give the gift of yourself. Carry the tidings of great joy into the community, through action, advocacy and prayer.
One great way to extend love is by making a legacy gift in support of your parish.
Imagine the impact if we all gave something. Through our planned gifts we offer FOREVER VALUE, ensuring strong worship communities and the growth of sacraments for generations to come. It’s easy to make a planned gift, and we can help.
And finally, enrich the gift we’ve been given, in your own life. Strike up a friendship with Jesus. What an opportunity we’ve been given. At the last supper Jesus called the apostles “friends.” He invites all of us to walk with him on a journey of friendship that will enrich our own lives and spill out in service to others.
At the core of our faith is love. Love received, love given. Thank you for reflecting that love into our community. May the gift of love surround you throughout this new year.
This article was written with the welcome assistance of Monsignor J. Patrick Browne.
For more information on making a planned gift for your parish, please call
(408) 995-5219, or visit www.cfoscc.org.