adventWhat does Jesus want for Christmas? After all, it’s his birthday. And he has told us what he wants.

When Jesus appeared to St. Faustina, to whom he entrusted his messages of Divine Mercy, he told her: “But child, you are not in your homeland: so fortify yourself by my grace and fight for My kingdom as a king’s child would, and remember that the days of your exile will pass quickly, and with them, the possibility of earning merit for heaven. I expect from you, My child, a great number of souls who will glorify My mercy for all eternity.” (Diary of St. Faustina 1489)

Jesus told St. Faustina that he wants souls who will glorify his mercy for all eternity. He essentially told us this same thing in the Bible when he gave us the two great Commandments.

“’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt 22-36-39).

Jesus wants us to love God and others. There is no greater love for both than to work for the salvation of souls to glorify God for all eternity.

So, how does that look on a Christmas list? Below are suggestions on how we can turn our love of God and neighbor into gift giving to win souls for God. Please add any of your own suggestions in the comment section.

Spiritual Gifts

  • Attend and offer up Masses and Communions for people. For instance, write on someone’s Christmas card, “I will attend a Mass and offer up Communion for your intentions.” Offer up any number such as a novena (9), a month, etc.
  • Take advantage of the Catholic devotions such as praying the Stations of the Cross, or a rosary for someone.
  • Give the gift of an hour in adoration.
  • Find ways to show mercy. How can we help someone?
  • Fast for someone.
  • Have a Masses said. We can sign people up for a particular Mass at most parishes.
  • Mass enrollments. Many Catholic religious orders, especially those serving the missions, offer year-long enrollments where people can have their intentions included in Masses, prayers and good works.
  • Chaplet of Divine Mercy Perhaps offer them a bouquet such as a novena (9) or any number.

Although many people are honored to receive such gifts, for those who don’t understand their value or might even be irritated we don’t necessarily have to tell them of our gift.  “…Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matt 6:4.

Religious Articles and Books

The Bible, sacred art, crucifixes, videos and CD’s and other religious goods make beautiful gifts. We can also have them blessed.

Books can be given to someone by you or you can ask a husband or older child to read a book you’ve been wanting them to be inspired by as their gift to you. For college kids on a tight budget, they might appreciate this type of gift giving—it’s a win/win for them. Here are some of my favorite books that can move people closer to God and his Church.

Imitation of Christ First published in 1418; Thomas à Kempis’s book offers instructions for renouncing worldly vanity and discovering eternal truths with the goal of living out the teachings of Jesus through inspiration from his life. It is considered more widely read and more influential than any other spiritual work except the Bible,

The One-Minute Aquinas Simple explanations and insights from one of the Church’s preeminent theologian.

Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching Unless we start with truth, we always end up with less. It deeply affirms Catholic teaching.

Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. This presented a new way to pray for me—consoling Jesus. The exercises of St. Ignatius, teachings of Saints Thérèse of Lisieux, Faustina Kowalska, and Louis de Montfort are presented in a readable, relatable style.

Fr. Jacques Philippe All his books on spirituality lead one to a deeper, more prayerful relationship with God.

Adam and Eve after the Pill Mary Eberstadt dissects the sexual revolution, revealing why we so desperately need the Divine Mercy devotion for such a time as this.

The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer Fr. Jonathan Morris offers hope and insight for a deeper spiritual understanding and practice.

The Handbook for Catholic Moms Lisa Hendey covers the heart, mind, and soul of mothering with a Catholic perspective.

A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy Subtitle: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Sarah A. Reinhard accompanies expectant mothers from conception to baptism.

Navigating the Interior Life. Dan Burke explains the benefits of spiritual direction and guides people on how to begin and what to expect.

A Life of Blessings Michael Brown shares stories and Scripture promises to uplift and deepen the faith.

Visions of Purgatory: A Private Revelation was translated from the original French. It offers a vivid account of purgatory that inspires a deeper love of God and disdain of sin.

On Human Life combines Humanae Vitae with commentary by popular authors Mary Eberstadt, James Hitchcock, and Jennifer Fulwiler. It’s powerful, clearly presented, and shows how rejecting Catholic teaching has changed the world.

God’s Bucket List Teresa Tomeo challenges people not to procrastinate getting their spiritual lives in order.

Diary of St. Faustina The 700-page diary chronicles God’s message given through St. Faustina to the world to turn to His mercy. The Marian Helpers offer many other books and spiritual aids that promote the Divine Mercy message.

My own books, the Amazing Grace Series and Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families are about promoting God through the dramatic, true stories of others.

Dear God, I Don’t Get It! and the sequel Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious! lead children to God and prayer through humorous and inspirational adventures. (I included my own books because I write to promote God.)

Be Spiritually Generous

Consider all the people you can pray for, even if they do not know it.

As Catholics, we should also be praying for the souls in Purgatory. Those prayers are a gift that taps into God’s mercy to allow us to shorten the time until they can be united with God in Heaven.

The first Christmas—the birth of the Son of God in a manger—spelled it out: material riches don’t lead to spiritual ones. Poor shepherds were the first to receive the good news and throughout his life, Jesus warned against materialism. How ironic that Christmas has become a consumer extravaganza. Instead, let’s making it a spiritual extravaganza.

Copyright 2014 Patti Maguire Armstrong