Editor's note: The following was originally published in Fr. Mike Schmitz's column in the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church bulletin. Fr. Schmitz is the pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Crofton and St. Andrew in Bloomfield. Both parishes are in the Spirit 88.3-FM listening area. Thank you to Fr. Schmitz for allowing us to blog his column.
From the Desk of Fr. Mike Schmitz
Did you know that a person should receive only three gifts at Christmas? Why? Jesus received only three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Therefore, we should only give three gifts to a person this Christmas.
Remember, spiritual bouquets are wonderful gift items, too. Some other ideas would be spending more time in prayer, attend daily Mass, pray an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament at your parish, visit the sick on a regular basis, etc.
Let us make this Christmas a great and holy one for all. Pray, pray, pray!
Three Ways to Stay Spiritual This Christmas
From Schmitz, via ePriest.
The difficult situation of the economy this year provides us with an excellent opportunity to purify our expectations. Instead of focusing too much on the passing joys of material things, it almost forces us to focus more on the deeper, longer-lasting joys of spiritual things. We can do that in three ways.
First, we can make sure that the gifts we plan to give to other people this Christmas are meaningful. Meaningful doesn't necessarily mean expensive. It means helpful for living a meaningful life, helpful because it reminds the other person that they are loved, that in God's eyes, and in ours, they matter.
Second, we can make sure that among all the hopes of this Advent season, our biggest hope comes from knowing that on Christmas, here in this church, during the sacred liturgy, which is always so beautiful on Christmas, Jesus himself will come once again into our souls in a special way, bringing us the priceless gift of his grace. That is the gift we should most look forward to receiving.
Third, we can make sure that on Christmas we don't come to Christ empty-handed. He is our King and our Lord, our Creator and our Savior, and Christmas is his birthday. What gift would please him most? A new commitment to prayer or service? Having broken, with his help, a selfish, sinful habit? Having reconciled a relationship? Having shared the faith with someone new? Saying yes to that thing he has been asking me for so long that I keep saying no to? In the remaining days of Advent, let's talk to Jesus and Mary about what Christ wants this year for his birthday. Focusing on him more than us will help make sure that wrong expectations don't cut us off from the flow of his grace.