Well Christmas Day has come and gone and many of us would’ve gone through the anxious moments of choosing the perfect gift for our friends and loved ones. Many of us would’ve gone from one shopping mall to the other in search of that perfect gift; some may have found it, while others may still be undecided as to what that perfect gift really is. But what is Christmas really all about? Is it about travelling the length and breadth of our towns and cities and streets, searching for the perfect gift? Is is about searching through all the catalogs available on the Internet? Is it about finding the best deals available, and hopefully finding great gift items there? Or is it about receiving the greatest gift that has ever been given, and that will ever be given.
The greatest gift that has ever been given to you and to me is the priceless gift of our salvation given to us through Jesus Christ the Son of God, a gift that we aught to celebrate over and over very day that we live, and especially at this time of year, at Christmas time. Christmas is the celebration of the gift of God’s love. It is a love that gives and gives and keeps on giving even at times when in our humanness, it seems senseless. But God never gave up on us no matter how far we may have wandered away from him; and at the appointed time in history some 2000 years ago, He elevated our human existence by sending His Son, Jesus, to be one with us. Not only was He one with us, but as St. Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself and assumed the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on the cross.”
Christmas is the celebration of the love of God that is so great that He gave all that He had to unite us on to himself. In the first Christmas gift given that is recorded in the Bible, we see the wise men following the star which led them to Jesus the Christ child, and they worshiped him and gave him the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which signified that Jesus the Christ child was King, Priest and ultimate sacrifice or the ultimate gift offered to the Father to appease our sins.
There is a Song that is sang at this time of the year called “The gift goes on”. The words are, “the Father gave the Son, the Son gave the Spirit, the Spirit gives us life so we can give the gift of love. And the gift goes on, and the gift goes on.” The great and priceless gift of God’s love is a gift that is meant to be shared with all not just at Christmas time, but all year round. It is a gift that we not only accept, but we become one with, and we share with others. It is the treasure of God’s love.
Within recent months in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, there has been a lot of talk imploring the faithful to share their time, their treasure and their talent with the Church – the Body of Christ. This is precisely what living the gift that God has given to us is meant to make us do, or rather how it is meant to make us live; we live not for ourselves but we live for those around us, and just as Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for us all, we too, born out of the love of God so abundantly shown to us, will be willing to give our time, our treasure and our talent to others.
Finally, as we continue through this Christmas season, Christmas is indeed the celebration of the greatest and most perfect gift ever given, the gift of Jesus Christ who continues to give himself to us in the form of his body and blood in the celebration of the holy Eucharist. As Catholics, with our hearts filled with gratitude to our God for the priceless treasure of his Son, we should willingly accept his invitation to partake of this sacrifice not only every weekend, but as often as we can, and when we do, offer up to God the gift of our lives so that like the bread and wine that is blest and transformed, we too might be blest, and be transformed for God’s honor and glory.
May the joy, peace, love, the hope, and indeed the greatest gift ever given flood your hearts, your minds and your souls and bring us into a deeper experience of the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus His Son.