Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Who's Birthday Is It?
May the word of the Lord be on our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts, amen.
Well, prayers for guidance got answered quickly, as it did not take long for me to feel the urge to post on a topic. This urge was reinforced and further inspired by watching an old episode of Mother Angelica Live on EWTN last night discussing the same topic.
So, when your birthday comes around, assuming you celebrate it and other people remember it, what would you think if everyone else around you received gifts on that day but not you? That wouldn't seem fair, or even make sense, would it? You're feelings would likely also be hurt.
Jesus' birthday is coming up on Sunday, in case you hadn't heard, and so I ask: What did you get Him for his birthday? When He was born, the three wise men brought Him gifts. There was no exchange of gifts among anyone else, only Jesus received them. So, what are you getting Him this year?
If you do not have an answer for the above question, or the answer is "nothing," then I'll ask if you bought gifts for anyone else. I'm willing to bet most of you did, and the crowds at the stores will back that up.
So here we are, celebrating Jesus' birthday, and everyone buys gifts for everybody else, and forget to give Him anything. Does that seem fair? Does that even make any logical sense?
Yes, I am aware that a large part of the tradition of gift giving on Christmas was inspired by the gift giving generosity of the real St. Nicholas (hence Santa Claus being called St. Nick, even though that's not even his first name!) who's feast day is December 6. But let's not forget who received the gifts first: the birthday boy Himself, Jesus Christ.
Now, since Jesus has obviously ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, you're probably asking how in the world can we give Him any gifts? He certainly doesn't need any gold or Frankincense now, right? And I doubt he'd be too interested in a new video game system, anyways.
The reality is, Jesus is all around us. Remember Jesus' words in Matthew 25:45: Whatever you do for the least among you, you also do for me." What does this mean for us?
It means that this Christmas, you can find Jesus at homeless shelters, food pantries, nursing homes, run down housing, halfway houses, all alone in their homes with nobody to celebrate with, in jails, in cardboard boxes on the street, in orphanages, maybe even next door or down the street from you.. He is literally everywhere, because He is all of these people!
And that means, my dear friends, that you can give Jesus gifts for His birthday by giving to the least among us! The needy, the poor, the suffering, the sick, the lonely, every time you give to them, either a material item or simply your time, you are giving Jesus a birthday gift.
Maybe, as part of your "wish list" every year, you could give up some of your gifts and ask people to donate to a charity in your name, instead.
After all, who's birthday is it?
Godspeed and Merry Christmas!