Dear Catholic.net Friend in Christ,
What do you suppose could be the best present to give our Lord on his birthday? Let me ask you in another way: What gift do you think our Lord wants the most from you on his birthday?
I think our Lady answers this question best. Not with words, but -- in a very Marian way -- in loving silence allowing the works of charity to speak out loud: She gave God the gift of herself.
Church tradition teaches us that our Lady was consecrated to the service of the temple as a little girl. As an unwedded teenager, she accepted God’s request to bear his only Son (Luke 1). As a mother she was humbled in every way (Luke 2). Yet she persevered. And in the worse of her trials – through God’s strength -- she was able to stand up by the foot of the Cross and hold witness to God her Savior. (John 19:25). Can we emulate our Lady’s self-giving?
Would we be willing to give ourselves entirely to Jesus on his birthday? He wants our whole person: The good and the bad, the joys and the disappointments, the suffering and the happiness, the virtues and the imperfections. (Romans 5:8; Matthew 9:10-17; Mark 2:15-22; Luke 5:29-39). He wants it all. We have One Holy God who longs for sinners. Not for their sins. But, as a loving Father, he yearns to relieve us from our burdens. (Psalm 55:23-24; Matthew 11:29-3).
“Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2). God lives in an eternal present and he does not want to wait for a more convenient time on our schedule. (Matthew 25:1-13, Matthew 6:25-34; Hebrews 13:8). Neither does God want to be put off until a better version of us comes around for this or that reason. (Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10). What holds us back? This Christmas, are we willing to let it all go, and choose to trust God’s providence instead? (Psalm 62; 1 Peter 5:7). Holiness is one “yes” away.
So, this Christmas, like our Lady, how about if we give Jesus the present of ourselves? Let’s not be worried about anything. (Psalm 56; Matthew 10:31; Luke 12:7; Luke 12:32). God loves us exactly how we are (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6). Although, he will always change us to be more alike himself, if we let him. He wills our sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Let us pray for the grace to give ourselves without reservations to God this Christmas. Then, when we have given it all to Jesus, and are finally empty, Jesus can live in us. (Galatians 2:20; 1 John 4:9).
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