Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Did you give or receive this Christmas?

How was your Christmas?  What stands out for you from these days?

Sunday night, our 10 year old neighbor came over with her brother.  These children aren't familar with "Miss Manner"' since it was 9pm already when they rang the door bell.  We didn't get there fast enough so they rang it again. I got to the door and found the girl and her brother both without coats in the below 40 degree weather.  As a matter of fact, she had super short sleeves on her shirt and had obviously outgrown her pants. 

The cold and their lack of warm against the cold was of no concern for them because they were on a mission!  The boy held the small wrapped package in the palm of his hand which he handed me.  Meanwhile his sister read the special note she wrote for us-- "To: The Nouns"  also translated as nuns. Check out her beautiful handwriting!

Then I was urged on by their great excitement to open our Christmas package. Below is the heart key ornament. You can't see the dollar store gems sparkling in the photo, but they do!  It was like receiving the widow's mite.  I was touched that this girl with so little would want so much to give us a gift and to get it to us before she left to spend Christmas with her relatives.  

Someone shared an article with me recently about Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay in Bethlehem.  The point of it was--if Mary and Joseph had come to you for help what would you have done?  It is easy to say, "Oh of course I would have helped them!"  But would you have REALLY?  The reality is that we treat so many people as invisible when we don't consider them worth our time or effort. 

So, how does this relate back to our neighbors?  The experience made me pause and reflect on how we interact with these children and the rest of our neighbors.  We received a box of already popped popcorn in single serving packets of various flavors.  We put some aside by the door for these neighbor children and their cousins who come around.  When they came over that night it was our chance to give our gift.  So we filled up their grocery bag with the popcorn packets that they could eat on the way to their relatives' house the next day.  It seemed so mutual...yes, mutual.  We not only reach out to them, but we are able to receive also. 

Christ gave us the example of being able to give and receive.  Can you name anyone who only wants to receive?  How about someone who can only give and won't receive from anyone?  So where do we each stand in giving and receiving?

As someone once said to me, you can't give what you have not received.  Do I receive God's blessing and love? Am I open to God's presence in my life?  Do I accept the gift of faith?  In turn do I share God's blessings and love?  Do I invite others to experience God's presence in their lives? Do I share the gift of faith?  Well, this is good material for New Year's resolutions!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that you have a blessed New Year!  Daughters of Charity around the world will have our end of year retreat on Dec. 31st.  Do you have any special intentions?

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