St. Nicholas Reflection: Podcast Edition


St. Nicholas Reflection: Podcast Edition


Some years ago, I was invited by my friends at the Diocese of Greensburg to give a reflection as part of the Saint Nicholas Day virtual celebration. Today, I share that audio with you.


Episode Transcript
It's the time of the year where we think a lot about giving and receiving presence. I remember when I was a child putting my shoes out in early December for St. Nicholas to leave a small gift in them. Just a week ago, we had the shopping holidays, black Friday and Cyber Monday. The world with some excitement right now is gearing up with lists in hand. Everyone's scrambling to order last minute Christmas presents and postal workers, UPS and Amazon delivery. People are getting ready for their roles as Santa's big helpers. Gifts make us happy. I remember the Christmas Eve I got on my buddy doll and the Christmas morning I woke up to my power will's two seat battery operated Jeep. Those toys brought happiness and joy to me when I was a child. But great as those gifts were, the joy they brought was only temporary. Even though I think I still have my buddy in a closet somewhere, I'm not much of a holiday gift giver. Maybe I'm just not organized enough. I've had great examples of holiday shoppers, my mom, my aunts, even my wife, on a budget. They always seem to be organized and able to find gifts that fit each of us perfectly. But maybe that's because they know that while gifts bring happiness in life, at times the happiness comes as much to the gift giver as the gift receiver. I'm not sure if you've heard the old saying money can't buy happiness, but I would challenge that statement a little bit. I believe money can buy happiness if it's used correctly. It may not make us happy if we spend it on ourselves, but when we spend it on others, it can bring great happiness, happiness that is even longer lived than the happiness from receiving a great gift like my power wills. I mean, it goes without saying that the weight limit on that car I've exceeded and it can't get me to and from work. As Catholics, we like to look for examples on how to live our lives, don't we? We're blessed with many saints who show us the way with gift giving. We can look at St. Nicholas, but we can also look for examples that our father gives us in the gospel according to John. For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. God gave of himself the greatest gift we could ask for. We must give of ourselves too. Most of us have heard the phrase giving of our time, our talent, our treasures. How do we share those gifts with others? How do we share them with those who are less fortunate than ourselves? For some years, I participated in a coat buying project where I would get a tag and buy a coat for a kid in need. The project was important and beneficial to the people in need, but was relatively easy for my wife and me. I think back to that charitable act and reflect upon the example God gave us by giving us, his son did, giving a coat from Macy's compared to that act of love that was shown to us by our Heavenly Father. Of course not. Maybe it would be a greater act of love if it had been my only coat, but it wasn't, and I'm not saying we shouldn't participate in toy drives, coat drives, and angel trees. We absolutely should. But we must also look for the greater ways to give of the gift of ourselves to others during this pandemic, when many of us are uncertain of things we thought we were sure of before, being able to spend time with our friends, to travel with our families. We know that many of our family members, friends, neighbors, and even strangers in our communities are suffering. Some are suffering from a lack of money. Some are worried and scared, some are very lonely. None of us know how to fix all of these issues, but I know that we can't do it alone. This advent is we prepare for Christ to come into our hearts and homes as we remember God sending his son to us as the greatest gift of all time. We must focus on giving the greatest gift. We have a very personal gift of self to those who are struggling this Christmas season.

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