The Christmas season is upon us. We have started making our gift lists and checking them twice. Of course, we will include family and friends on our lists. But we may also include teachers, coaches, and even service workers, such as newspaper deliverers or mail carriers. We want to give everyone a gift, showing our love and appreciation for all they do during the year. The idea of holiday gift giving — to show love and gratefulness to others who have touched our lives – is certainly parallel to the concept of stewardship.
Stewardship – returning a portion, or gift, to God in love and thankfulness – follows the very same pattern. We give a gift to Him to express our thanks. Think of all God has done for you this year, and how His love has impacted you. Maybe He has answered a special prayer petition, or provided a job for an unemployed loved one. He may have helped safely bring a new baby into the family, or has brought peace during a difficult time. The blessings are no doubt countless. These abundant gifts God bestows on us are given to us freely out of His love – even though we are unworthy to receive them.
Now think of all the ways you respond to these bountiful blessings. How do you choose to show God your thankfulness? As we prepare for the coming of Jesus during Advent, do we remember to add His name to our list? When we check Grandpa’s name on our list, are we also including a gift to Christ? It is His birthday we are celebrating, after all.
The very first name on the list – above our spouse, children, relatives and friends – should be God’s name. As good stewards, we are called to give God our “first fruits,” and not what is left over. His name should not be added to our list out of guilt, or as an afterthought. We should instead joyfully desire to place God first on our list for the same reason we want to give gifts to the others on our list — out of love and appreciation.
Stewardship allows us to tangibly give a Christmas gift to God through our time, talent and treasure. Why not spend an hour in the church adoring God, or pray a Rosary to share your time with Him? Perhaps you might bring a meal to a family going through a difficult time, or watch an infant for a young mother so she can prepare for Christmas. Providing an extra offering by way of the Christmas envelope is also a perfect way to share your treasure with God. Whatever choice you make this season, make the decision to be a good Christmas steward.