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!

1 comment:

  1. Eric,

    Just discovered your blog due to a forum in which we both participate (not sure I can mention it).

    I am reminded of the testimony of a dear woman of GOD who prayed that for Christmas all she wanted was a visitation from The Lord. She arose early Christmas Eve. and Christmas day to do the many things that were on her heart, all the while excitedly awaiting for the Lord to visit her.

    She prepared Christmas dinner for a family whose father had lost his job and they were having a difficult time. She wrapped the presents she had gotten for the children and took the dinner and gifts over to them.

    She also remembered the elderly in the "old folks home" that had no family to visit them and took gifts and goodies there and visited with those whom nobody had come to visit.

    She remembered a widow who had no family and spent time fellowshipping with her before she went home. All the while the day was slipping past and she knew The Lord would visit her any moment. She was so excited!

    She got home and waited.... and waited. Finally, it was after midnight and she got ready for bed. She couldn't help being disappointed. "Oh Lord, all I wanted was a visitation from you... why Lord did you not just visit me for a short while?" The response came... "I did not just visit you, I spent the entire day with you!! When you took Christmas dinner to the needy family, I went with you. When you spent time with those who had been forgotten by their own families in the nursing home, I went with you. When you visited the lonely widow who thought nobody cared, I went with you. I did not just visit you, I spent the whole day with you!"

    She began to cry with joy as her sorrow turned to gladness and she understood that her prayer was not only answered but that He had been with her all day. She went to sleep filled with The Joy of The Lord and happy as could be.

    I don't recall exactly where I heard this testimony but I believe it is true.