Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gifts for Jesus

There are several gifts under our tree this year that aren’t wrapped. The kids can’t pick them up and shake them, hoping to guess what’s inside. They didn’t cost us anything to purchase. But in giving these gifts, we not only gift the recipient, but ourselves and others as well.

These are gifts for Christ Jesus.

What do you give our Lord at Christmastime? It seems the whole world is at odds with faith these days. The news programs paint dire pictures of economic hardship while filling the space between segments with advertising for the latest technology, toys, clothes, or cars. Radio shows highlight stories about the “War on Christmas,” while the ACLU warns schools not to celebrate Christmas in the classroom.

To help us discover and remember the real meaning of Advent and Christmas, our church held this "Gifting of Christmas" event, inviting families to “shop” at various booths for gifts. We didn’t need our purse, wallet, or credit card – everything available for purchase was bought with faith. Each family member selects a card labeled with an age-appropriate act representing that gift, and after performing the act we add the card to a decorated shoebox placed under our Christmas tree.

Our gifts for Jesus are Joy, Patience, Respect, Human Dignity, Forgiveness, Peace, and Hope. Here are a few ideas of how you can also purchase these gifts for Christ.

Joy

  • Say “Merry Christmas” to the clerks at stores, restaurants and others you meet.
  • Send a Christmas card to family member(s) or friend(s) who you haven’t contacted recently.
  • Smile and say “I love you” to each family member when they least expect it.

Patience

  • Wait your turn without complaining.
  • Do not interrupt Mom or Dad when they are on the telephone.
  • When your children demonstrate patience upon your request, say “Thank you for your patience.”
  • Be patient with others as God is patient with you.

Respect

  • Don’t interrupt when someone else is talking.
  • Take time to listen to a family member even when you are in a hurry.
  • Ask before you use someone else’s stuff.

Human Dignity

  • Do something nice for a family member, neighbor, employer or classmate.
  • Make a “Have a Nice Day” or “Jesus Loves You” card or craft for shut-ins. (Drop off at the Time & Talent office.)
  • For the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec. 25 –Jan 5) name one good quality or gift of each family member and share with them each day.
  • Visit a nursing home and spend time talking to or playing a game with the residents.

Forgiveness

  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Say a kind word to someone who has been mean to you.
  • Say “I forgive you” when someone tells you they are sorry for hurting you.

Peace

  • Stay quiet when someone else is trying to speak to you or the group you are in.
  • Promise to turn down the volume on stereos in cars or rooms at home.
  • Spend ten minutes of your day in silence for one week.

Hope

  • Pray for the Christian Action Ministry.
  • Smile and give a compliment to two people each day.
  • Write a note of encouragement to a friend or family member.
  • Call someone who is lonely or sad; cheer them up just by showing someone cares.
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