What Shall We Offer?
“What shall we offer you,O Christ, who for our sake appeared on earth as a human? Every creature made by you offers you thanksgiving. The angels offer you a hymn. The heavens, a star. The magi, gifts. The shepherds, their wonder. The earth, its cave. The wilderness, a manger. And we offer to you a Virgin Mother.”
This beautiful hymn we sing during the Vespers of Christmas reminds us of an essential part of Christmas - gift-giving. Yes, gift-giving is essential, but not in the sense that most of us think about it. From childhood, we dream of Christmas because of all the gifts we will receive. Even as we grow older, we take delight in offering our own children many gifts.
Well, the essence of Christmas is about gifts, not about the gifts we give our children, but about the greatest gift that our Heavenly Father offered to the world - the gift of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. How the world has changed because of this unfathomable gift!
On one hand, the world doesn’t seem to have changed much. We still have violence, wars, corruption and greed, illness, suffering, and death. Yet one fundamental thing has changed indeed changed! God has entered the world, tasted every aspect of our life except sin, including death itself, and has opened up a new path for all humanity to follow.
Through this gift of Jesus Christ, we now have a concrete example of a perfect life and a true human being in the midst of a fallen society. Our Lord did not just teach about love, but incarnated divine and unconditional love both towards his neighbor, and even towards his enemies. Jesus showed us that the greatest virtue in life is to love unconditionally, humbly serving and sacrificing for the other. We now know very clearly the life we are called to live.
And the gift of Jesus not only set a perfect example for us, but even more importantly, this gift has delivered us from our greatest fear and enemy - death itself. Christmas Day is the beginning of our salvation, because Christ came on earth for one purpose, to destroy the power of death by His own death!
As we make our way towards Christmas Day, with all our shopping and buying presents for one another, let us pause to reflect upon the greatest gift of the season, the priceless gift that our Heavenly Father offers to each of us, and let us find ways to express our sincere and wholehearted gratitude back to Him.
Probably the best way we can show our thankfulness is by imitating His generous gift-giving, but giving especially to those less fortunate, and to those in need! And in order to imitate God, we must offer our best back to Him. We are called to offer our very lives in humble service to our fellow humanity and to God Almighty.
Here lies the secret to a truly meaningful and blessed life. True living comes through giving - of ourselves, of our time, of our material possessions, of everything we have to help others. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
May we all grow in our desire to give, and thus, carry this Christmas spirit with us throughout the year
A most blessed and joyous Christmas to you!!!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Welcome to our Church