“…man is the only creature on earth that God will for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.” (Gaudium et Spes, 24)
I wonder where you are as you're reading this on “black Friday.” Are you one of the millions out shopping for bargains on gifts for loved ones? Or are you like me and avoid any retail establishment like the plague on this particular day?
I enjoy gift-giving when I find something that I know my loved one will enjoy, but tend to get irritated when I must buy something just to meet a social expectation.
One year, through a difficult time of my husband being without a job, I was liberated knowing we simply could not afford to buy gifts that Christmas. Instead I wrote notes to express my love and gratitude, spent time helping others, and devoted more family prayer time for the intentions of love ones. (I cannot resist… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n14DOnImyjw)
We were created to be gift, not give gifts. Giving gifts can be a form of self-gift, but fulfillment only comes through giving of ourselves to God and others. The ultimate example of self-gift, Jesus on the Cross, teaches us that self-gift requires self-sacrifice. Before we make our list of gifts to buy, let’s prayerfully consider ways we can be self-gift to our family, friends and even our neighbors we don’t know.