Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Your Gift to God

It used to be that the best of the flock was sacrificed to God. Later, the first-born son was pledged to him. But God said: “Enough! I don’t want your sacrifices; I have everything in the world if I want it.” So then, what DOES he ask for? He asks for our hearts, our love. The one thing we have that is uniquely ours, and it is not of this world – and he asks for it. Our love is the only thing that will be with us forever, when all the things of this world we leave behind, and he asks for it.

Can you sincerely give it to him?

How would you do that, if you wished to? How do you just give your love, perhaps to a God who is much like a stranger to you? And how would he know that this is your sincere gift, and not something you bought at the last minute on sale?

It’s hard to think in Godly terms, to have any idea of what HE might perceive as a gift – I mean talk about a gift for someone who has everything!! Literally!! I don’t believe we can really figure out what God would want, in spiritual terms, so we need to start out trying to understand an appropriate gift, a way to truly show and mean love, by thinking in earthly terms.

When you want to show someone on earth you love them, or even to a stranger that you care about them, what do you do? Well, you could write them a check, but would that be received as a gift of love? No, the receiver has to perceive that the gift is special – you don’t give this gift to just anyone. Then they’ll perceive themselves as special, someone you really care about. So what would be a special gift from us – candy, flowers, or a ring? But wait, the person you are giving to has EVERYTHING. His house is always full of flowers, candy dishes are on every end table, and he has jewelry boxes in every room – he even lets you borrow some, if you want. So what special thing do you get for him whom you don’t know what to get for?

One of the things which comes to my mind is a visit. I could go to his house and spend time with him. I could tell him how much I value him. I could tell him I think of him often. The he would have some idea how much I care for him, how much I love him. I could tell him he is in my prayers.

You could offer similar gifts as these to God. They are good, and I’m sure will be well received and appreciated. But if you are a bit more innovative, you can conceive of truly unique, truly special, truly gifts of your love – gifts that are not only received in love by him, but gifts that YOU know are truly GIVEN in love.

So what might such a gift be? I think you might look into your heart and honestly ask yourself what you love most – and give that to God for Christmas. For a very tiny portion of us, that might truly be money, but for most of us I think it is related to time. Time is precious to us, and we never seem to have enough.

So this Christmas, you might offer God some quiet time – time you don’t have to spare, but you’ll give to him anyway. Give him time that is precious to you, not just a casual planned visit. Maybe you’ll give him some time you might have spent with the person who means the most to you – and by that you’d be telling God that, at least for that little bit of time, HE means the most to you. A friend texted me in the middle of the night: “Pray for me.” The next morning at mass I received Jesus and said: “Don’t stay with me; please leave. Go to my friend who needs you; help her in ways you know best.”

You can offer to God your most precious time; he’ll understand your gift and its meaning.

But maybe time is not what you value most. If you are honest with yourself, you may admit that a certain vice or emotion is what you value most: alcohol, pornography, sex, drugs, anger, hatred, envy, gluttony. For some of us, what we love most is what we want to do most, the feelings we get the most satisfaction from.

I asked a woman to pray for the success of a good program started by President Bush; she responded: “Yeh, but he’s ….” I asked someone to write their congressman, but he replied: “Yeh, but they’re all … “ I asked a priest to pray for a certain religious, and he said: “Yeh, but they don’t act or dress very religious.” Many of us have much anger, which just jumps out of us at every opportunity.

For Christmas, even if just for a while, we could stop our addictions; we could vow to say nothing but good about ANYONE; we could turn our hearts away when they naturally turn to anger; or if we could willingly do an act of love for someone – any of these things could be done for the love of Him. In a few moments of prayer, we could offer these sacrifices to God.

He will understand how difficult it was for you to give this gift.

All these examples are gifts of love, gifts from our heart. It’s truly the gift God wants! Could you not wrap one, a gift from your heart, for him this Christmas?

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