Twilight Twitches

msgrjimDear Family,
Six days before Christmas! All the merchants are telling us we still have time to get in the extra shopping to take care of the stuff and/or people we forgot. Years ago, my brothers and sisters decided that we would not do Christmas presents. Since there are seven of us, before you even got to anyone else, you’d have a pile of gifts to take care of. (Birthdays, however, are okay!)

Although I confess to working at finding easy ways of shopping online, I get a kick out of giving the gift. We would ask Mom what she would like for Christmas, and her constant and inevitable answer was always, “Good Children.” We kept looking anyway, because sometimes it was easier to buy a present, rather than be good. In truth, however, my brothers and sisters are good people, and good people to know. It breaks my heart to hear of problems that families have at times.

Gift-giving is a two-way street. There needs to be someone at the receiving end, or a gift makes no sense. When we were kids, we loved getting presents. Our parents were amazing about how well they did for all of us. Money was usually (always) tight, but we felt very rich.

Growing up shifted our attitudes and giving became more important than getting.

Now I find it more difficult to receive. One tome someone told me if you want to check out how healthy your self-image is, look at the way to accept compliments. The ideal is to be able to say “Thank you” when someone offers a compliment. My thought, after receiving a compliment, is often, “Boy, if you only knew...”

I can go on and on about gifts, etc., but instead of doing deep dives into the psychology and sociology of gift getting/giving, my question is simply this: why are we doing it in the first place?

It’s all about the GIFT.

shiningstarThe mystery of the most profound gift of all brings us to this moment. Our imaginations strain beyond the breaking point as we try to grasp a God who would go to the lengths He has, to gift us with the eternal life that comes through Jesus.

I titled this Twitch Gifting because we haven’t just received a gift in the past. The giving keeps going on. We constantly receive the gift of God through Jesus. We know Jesus from the baby to the crucified and Risen Lord. As St. John tells us, God is love.

I sit on the porch at night, saying my rosary. (Many times, I’m offering it for you.) On a clear night the best part is looking up and seeing the three stars in the belt of Orion, pointing at Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. Looking beyond into the blackness of space, you remember you’ve heard that the universe has countless stars, some say trillions.

And here we are on a smallest of specks in that universe, trying to image what Gift from God means. Jesus made – and makes – it real for us, and that is our true Gift that goes on forever. As our parish Christmas card said, all our staff wish you a blessed holy day and a 2022 that heals us and renews hope.

In our Savior,
sign frjim

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