The first time I ever bought anyone a Christmas present was when I was in the first grade. As Christmas was approaching, I asked my mother if I could have one dollar to buy someone a present. She gave me the dollar, even though I could tell that she was a bit suspicious about what I was going to do with the money. I went off to the corner drug store and bought a bright blue ballpoint pen for 79 cents. When I returned home, I gave my mother the change from the dollar and took my precious gift up to the bedroom where I could properly wrap it.
On Christmas Eve, my mother opened up a small and not too neatly wrapped object to discover the bright blue ballpoint pen. I was wondering just what her reaction would be upon opening the present. She broke out into a huge smile and thanked me for such a nice Christmas present.
Christmas stories do bring warmth and cheer to our hearts as we recall stories of caring and love. My little story has an interesting irony, doesn’t it? The gift that pleased my mother was purchased by me, but with my mother’s own money. Does that sound familiar to you?
In the United States Bishops’ document, Stewardship, a Disciples Response, they point out that there has to be a spark, an insight that acts as a way of being converted to a stewardship way of life. That insight is that everything we have comes from God. The disciple then is grateful for God’s gifts and returns them to God with increase because, after all, those gifts belong to God in the first place.
Our sacrifice of our prayer time, our parish and community involvement, and our financial giving is really a gift from what is God’s all along. It’s like buying your mother a Christmas present with her own money.
During the Christmas season, our gift giving is an imitation of the great giving-and-receiving that takes place between God and us every day. We receive everything from Him, and through our stewardship of love, give back to Him. Perhaps that is why the Christmas season is so special and heart-warming.
A very Merry Christmas to you and all of your family!