A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

A Season of Giving

Posted on: December 2, 2013

In December, our society promotes excess and charity all at once.

On the one hand, we have all forms of advertising encouraging us to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” all the wonderful items stores have in stock for the holiday season, ranging from food and décor items to gifts for others to things we should treat ourselves to.

On the other hand, in this season of giving, we’re encouraged to give to those less fortunate—to contribute to food banks and food hampers, to charities that support families or the homeless or that target a particular disease, or to international aid organizations, for example. In short, we’re asked to give in a way that shows love not only for our family and friends but also for our neighbours, wherever they may be.

Giving to others gives us the chance to show generosity, thoughtfulness and creativity. I love giving people just what they wanted and surprising them with thoughtful gifts, homemade or not. But that giving should not put us into credit-card debt or mean we’re knee-deep in wrapping paper on Christmas morning.

And we can bring together giving to others and giving to charity: we can give someone the opportunity to provide a microloan or the gift of livestock, school supplies, medical care, and so on, to someone in another country through an international aid organization. Or we can make a donation to a charity in honour of that person.

As we plan our family and charitable giving, we need to remember—as our priest reminded us during his homily yesterday—that we should not become so caught up in our material preparations for Christmas that we forget about our spiritual preparations. So we read in The Confirmed Catholic’s Companion: A Guide to Abundant Living by Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND:

It’s hard to live the four weeks of Advent as they are intended—as a season of quiet joy and anticipation. During Advent we ponder the comings of Jesus in history (Bethlehem), in mystery (everyday in the Eucharist), and in majesty (at the end of time).

As we journey through Advent, I pray that, more than giving and receiving gifts, we would anticipate celebrating Jesus’ coming to us as an infant born to take away our sins and spend time seeking God, who reminds us in Jeremiah 29:13-14*, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the LORD. . .”

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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