1st Sunday of Advent—Year C

Each year, people search for the perfect Christmas gifts for the most important people in their lives. We rack our brains and brave the mobs so that we may give our spouses, children, parents and siblings something extra special. But, in all our years, have we ever given Jesus Christ a special gift for Christmas? I encourage you to join with me in putting Him on the top of your Christmas list this year. But what can you get the God-man who has everything? There’s one thing that He cannot receive from anyone else but you—that is the perfect gift of yourself.

How do you make a perfect gift of yourself? First ask yourself this… If this day, death should take you by surprise and you find yourself standing before the Son of Man, as you looked at yourself, what part of your soul would remain unfinished? What would you wish you had another month’s time to set right in your life?

Jesus said, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life…” Is your life mixed-up with addictions to lust, to intoxicants, or to other empty pleasures?  Are you oppressed the daily worries which come from a lack of trust in God? Or maybe it is something else which is not quite right in your life. Whatever it is, identify where your life needs conversion the most, resolve to begin taking the path of life, and choose to make a gift of yourself for Christ this Christmas.

If you want to make a gift of yourself for Christ this Christmas there is something else you must do. You must set time aside to pray each day. If you neglect this, you will not go far in your conversion or holiness. But, if you lift up your soul to the Lord each day, telling Him about your needs and gratitude, and opening yourself to receive His gifts, then this could be the greatest Christmas of your life. St. Alphonsus Liguori says this about the importance of prayer:

 “Whoever prays is certainly saved. He who does not is certainly damned. All the blessed (except infants) have been saved by prayer. All the damned have been lost through not praying. If they had prayed they would not have been lost. And this is, and will be their greatest torment in hell: to think how easily they might have been saved, just by asking God for His grace, but [for] that now it is too late – their time of prayer is gone.”

There are twenty-five days ‘til Christmas.  Make the most of this opportunity and give Jesus Christ the gift He’s asking for this year.

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