Shelly Kelly invites you to consider how your family can gift their actions to Jesus.
There are several gifts under our tree this year that aren’t wrapped. The kids can’t pick them up and shake them, hoping to guess what’s inside. They didn’t cost us anything to purchase. But in giving these gifts we not only gift the recipient, but also ourselves and others.
These are gifts for Christ Jesus.
What do you give our Lord at Christmastime?
In a year marked with a pandemic, economic hardship, separation, and sadness, we need these gifts more than ever. Many of us are wondering what Christmas will look like, yearning for some time-honored traditions with loved ones that may not be possible this year.
This year, and every year, Jesus wants us to practice Joy, Patience, Respect, Human Dignity, Forgiveness, Peace, and Hope. These gifts to Him don’t require Venmo or a credit card; everything is available for us to give him through our actions, bought with conscious faith and promise.
Some years back, our parish introduced a “Gifting of Christmas” event, inviting families to “shop” for a specific gift at various tables. Each family member selected a card containing an age-appropriate action that would be a special gift. After performing the act, each child or adult added the card to a decorated shoebox placed under the Christmas tree.
CLICK TO TWEET
Practicing the gifts of Joy, Patience, Respect, Human Dignity, Forgiveness, Peace, and Hope help us rediscover the real meaning of Advent and Christmas. #catholicmom
This year, consider how your family can gift their actions to Jesus. Talk about what each of Jesus’ gifts mean and invite each family member to help identify age-appropriate actions that represent each gift in a simple, yet meaningful, way.
- Say “Merry Christmas” to those you meet or speak with.
- Send a Christmas card to family member(s) or friend(s) who you can’t be with this year.
- Smile and say “I love you” to each family member when they least expect it.
- Wait your turn without complaining.
- Do not interrupt Mom or Dad when they are talking to another person.
- When your children demonstrate patience upon your request, say “Thank you for your patience.”
- Be patient with others as God is patient with you.
- Take time to listen to a family member even when you are in a hurry.
- Ask before you use someone else’s stuff.
- Knock before you enter a room with a closed door.
- Do something nice for a family member, neighbor, colleague, or classmate.
- Make a “Have a Nice Day” or “Jesus Loves You” card or craft for those who are isolated, or in a retirement home/nursing home. (Check with your parish for contacts in this ministry.)
- For the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec. 25 –Jan 5) name one good quality or gift of each family member and share with them each day.
- Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Say a kind word to someone who has been mean to you.
- Say “I forgive you” when someone tells you they are sorry for hurting you.
- Stay quiet when someone else is trying to speak to you or the group you are in.
- Promise to turn down the volume on stereos in cars or rooms at home.
- Spend ten minutes of your day in silence for one week.
- Write a note of encouragement to a friend or family member.
- Call someone who is lonely or sad; cheer them up just by showing someone cares.
- Pray for your priests and parish staff.
That wrapped box with our cards is still with our Christmas decorations, although my children who created it are grown. Practicing the gifts of Joy, Patience, Respect, Human Dignity, Forgiveness, Peace, and Hope help us rediscover and be aware of the real meaning of Advent and Christmas.
Copyright 2020 Shelly Henley Kelly
Image copyright 2020 Shelly Henley Kelly. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Shelly Henley Kelly
Shelly Henley Kelly is a daughter of God, a Martha who strives to be Mary, living in the world, but not of the world, perpetually busy as breadwinner, wife, mother, catechist, and ACTS sister. A published author, Shelly writes about being a working mom and catechist at SoundMindAndSpirit.com and can be heard on various podcasts at SQPN.com.