In the movie The Christmas Box, a woman asks her handyman a Christmas question: “What is the first gift of Christmas?” He sputters and scratches his head and finally says: “Love?”
“No,” says the woman, “The first gift of Christmas is a child!”
It may seem like a trivial question until you scratch the surface. Think about it: The first gift of Christmas is a real, living child!
Who on earth is ready for that kind of gift? Who is ready for another mouth to feed, or for late nights up with the child, or changing diapers in the middle of then night? The world certainly isn’t ready for that kind of a gift!
A few years ago, a fellow cleric shared with me the difficulty in helping a single mother with a child find a place to call home. The three of them went from place to place, and it was an emotional rollercoaster! At one moment, the priest’s heart (and I imagine the mother’s too!) was at the top of the hill: “You mean you have a one-bedroom apartment to rent?” And the next moment his stomach was in the roof of his mouth and his lungs were gasping for air as the manager replied: “Sorry, but did you say she has a child?”
In the gospel of Matthew it reads: “Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife...” He was afraid because a baby changes your life! Yet, Joseph was courageous and obeyed God! How do we do that?
As we move through Advent and on to Christmas, let’s try to see ourselves not as uncles or aunts or grandparents but as “God” parents. Let’s see ourselves as the ones whom God has entrusted in the care and responsibility of raising-up a child who will change the world.
Let’s begin, St. Clare’s, by nurturing the children already in our midst. And then let’s look around and see who else we might nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.
Let’s remember that in that child-size frame lay a gift bigger than we can imagine. The gift is God with us!
Yours for the reign of God,