God’s Fundamental Principal of Gift Giving


From our earliest age, we clearly understood that Christmas was and is about gift giving and receiving…as young kids most of us enjoyed both the making of cards and gifts for our parents and, of course, the anticipating and receiving of gifts chosen specially for us. Yes, we have always known that Christmas is about gift giving and receiving… which leads Strugglin’Catholic.com to wonder, is it possible to find and live by one fundamental principle to generally guide one’s Christmas gift giving each year?


If there is such a principle, it can surely be found in the scripture stories of the First Christmas. In turning to these Gospel stories of Jesus’s birth, both symbols and signs make it clear that God’s gift to humanity is the Gift of God’s Self – given as His only begotten Son! We find God giving the Gift of God’s Self to us here at the beginning of the gospels, as Jesus Christ, to save and redeem us from sin…and then once again after the Ascension at the Pentecost when God sent Jesus’ promised Gift of God’s Self to us via baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Gift of the Holy Spirit guides us in continuing Jesus’ mission here on earth while also sanctifying us on the journey in preparation for heaven.


If there was or is one fundamental principle to guide our Christian gift giving during this holy season, we here at Strugglin’Catholic.com vote for the principle of truly giving yourself away in the gifts you give. Examples abound both in the scriptures and in our own graced histories: the giving of our time or our talents – especially when if one has a very busy life… or the sacrificing of one’s time and energy by making an enduring commitment as a gift… giving a loved one another chance or the light of hope to keep strugglin’ or continued faith in tough times… the gift to your church of becoming a prayer warrior and spending time daily to pray for those in your life… giving your child that instrument which will ruin your home’s silence or that pet that will probably disrupt your home life… giving hope plus couple of hundred dollars to the nephew/niece living in the aftermath of a bad decision or two, etc. All these examples of giving ourselves away reveal that our gift giving can, with prayer, be prayerfully tailored for each person in our lives…


Which gifts of self we choose to present to our loved ones each year can be figured out by simply bringing all of our children’s/loved one’s/personal ideals for presents this year to God in prayer… It is an interesting exercise to pray over one’s gift list each year, hoping in faith that one’s gifts reflect God’s principle of giving one’s self away in the gift. Prayerfully reflecting on our gift giving teaches us as much about ourselves and lives as it does about God and Christmas – especially when these reflections are prayerfully linked to the Gospel.


Here at Strugglin’Catholic.com we invite you to follow God’s example by seeking to give the gift of yourself away this Christmas! Just as God gave the gift of God’s self: God’s only begotten Son – Jesus, our prayer for all is that by the promised Holy Spirit, we may all imitate God this year and give ourselves away, thus, truly bringing Christmas love and joy to all.


Author: P. J. West, Jr.

Paul J. West Jr. is a cradle Catholic and native Chicagoan who has ministered in Catholic Schools, parishes and hospitals for over two decades. His current ministries are focused on both hospital chaplaincy and writing. Prior to this, he ministered as an educator for almost twenty five years teaching religion, scripture, philosophy and ethics at four Chicago area high schools and adults at the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. His parish ministry has included preaching, teaching, writing and serving as a Eucharistic minister. Mr. West, who is native south sider, has been married for almost 30 years to Dr. Joy West. They have raised four beautiful daughters who are all hardcore Bears and White Sox fans!!!!

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