So, I have to start off with a confession – I love Christmas. I know, advent has just started; but I just can’t help loving Christmas. Of course, the deeper my faith becomes the more my love for the season centers around the birth of Christ, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there was another important component of it that I love to receive gifts. Sure, the gifts are different now that I’m 20 than they were when I was a child, but I still love them.
I’ve learned the lesson, however, that sometimes the best gifts are not the one’s you want at first. Sure, maybe the long sleeves from my Lola didn’t have the same appeal as the complete volume of Twilight and Harry Potter series or Teen Titans figures that I really wanted, but when I was cold and pulled it around me I realized that it was exactly what I needed!
Have you noticed that our society has lost some of it’s time, patience, and ability to reflect? We move from thing to another, often without stopping to consider what has been happening to us. What things mean. What significance they hold. What needs to be different or continue as it is?
I am amazed at the opportunities that I have had in my life. In fact, that is one of the main ways that I see God moving in my life. I looked back at some of the opportunities that I have had and marveled at the way they came to be. Some of them are big ones, some are small ones, but there are so many gifts throughout. I feel like I’ve been able to take advantage of some of the opportunities that have presented themselves to me because I have been “awake” at the right times- which makes me wonder how many I’ve missed because I wasn’t so awake!
I have met so many people, each with a gift to share. I have had opportunities to grow and connect, to love and to create. God has given us such a wondrous world to experience, and there are opportunities all around. It’s impossible, of course, to repay God for the gift He has given us. Thankfully, that’s not what He asks. He asks us to show our gratitude simply by offering him what we have. By doing the things that we do each day in Jesus’ name. While that’s not always easy, it’s something we can do.
Let’s ponder gratitude for our vocations, that which we are called by God to do. I do believe that God calls all of us, and sometimes that call changes as we move through life. Sometimes that call is there, but goes unheard for a long time. Sometimes we struggle to hear and understand and find our “place” and “purpose”.
This is why your support is important. While your financial contribution goes directly to the seminary to train us to be future priests so that we may grow as messengers of God’s love, it is equally important that you support both the seminary and your parish in more ways. Whether it’s volunteering your time, or maybe it’s spiritually adopting a seminarian through your prayers and encouragement, the Church is most alive when you generously give your gifts. Please look around, look even at yourself, how is God asking you to give out of love to others? What gift is He asking you to receive from Him? You just might be surprised what happens once you open that gift.