As Christmas is approaching, we continue to prepare for the birth of Jesus in our Advent journey.
Throughout the preparations for the feast the question
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?”
(Rossetti, In The Bleak Midwinter)
is ever-present, whether through the carols we hear on the radio, or the literature we read. Walking past shops with their Christmas displays advertising ‘the perfect gift’ or, ‘the gift your loved one deserves’, it would be no surprise if you wondered,
“How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?”
(Psalm 116, v12)
With the help of the saints, here are a few suggestions of what gifts you can give to the Lord this Christmas.
Like St Martha, who did all the work in the house with no help, we are encouraged to take up a service this Christmas,
whether it be helping our family
or taking up a Corporal work of mercy in the lead up to Christmas, such as feeding the poor or visiting the sick.
‘St Martha, help us to work for the good of others, but always to put Christ first.
Help us also to learn from Christ, as you did, not to worry and fret but to trust in God’s all-powerful providence.’
(Finding Life’s Purpose)
The Gift of Joy
In light of recent events, joy can seem quite far from us.
However, as St Josephine Bakhita shows us through her life, despite the turmoil, she was always known
“for her deep compassion
and sweetness which she didn’t lose even during the
long, painful illness which preceded her death.”
She brought joy to the lives of those she met, despite living in hostile times. Even something small like joining in with carolling can bring joy to others.
‘St Josephine, even in the terrible suffering of your life, you saw beauty in the world and believed there must be a God because of that beauty.
May we too have something of your love for beauty and the natural world’
(Finding Life’s Purpose)
The Gift of Prayer
During the Advent and Christmas season,
it is very easy to be swept away by the glamour of Christmas, and to forget to pray for help to enter into this season well.
Take, for example, the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati – he was very popular among his friends, but he never compromised his prayerful life.
He attended mass every day and prayed all he could, even when his parents told him not to.
The Gift of Love
“Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’
Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”
Maria Goretti’s life is a great witness to the selfless love that we receive from God, and that we can give to the other with God’s help.
As a child, she walked numerous miles to and from church in order to receive the sacraments.
When she was older she forgave her killer and later appeared to him in a dream, forgiving him once more.
This Advent, we too can give the give the gift of love and forgiveness to those we are yet to reconcile with, and carry the selfless love of Christ in our hearts throughout Christmas, and beyond.