Wrap Your Gift in Prayer – 3

PARISH ADVENT PROGRAM

WRAP YOUR GIFTS IN PRAYER

God is revealed even in the overlooked gifts of daily life such as the wonder of breathing, the delight of eating, the blessing of sleep. The littlest things in the everyday, beneath the wrapping of their simplicity, are infinite portals to the heart of the Creator.

Freely adapted: Karl Rahner, Belief Today.

The Parish Advent Program is a way to help us pray and unwrap God’s peace in the midst of our busyness. During this Advent season, as we prepare to give gifts, we experience stress and fatigue, which may lead to grumpiness. This year can be different.

Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving and gift receiving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your Gift in Prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.

Wrap Your Gift in Prayer

As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill him or her with light, love and the peace of Christ. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.

How to Wrap Your Gift in Prayer

(Choose your Method or Methods)

  • Imagine – visualize the person for whom you pray. Picture the Lord blessing them and being near them.
  • Speak – pray out loud: “Lord surround (name) with your light, fill _____ with your peace, make _____ a channel of your love.”
  • Sing – our Advent Hymn or a Christmas carol.
  • Gesture – use the hand motion of wrapping, boxing, stuffing, etc., as your prayer asking God to bless the recipient through your movement and work.
  • Hear – simply repeat the person’s name knowing that the Lord hears our every prayer.
  • Recite – a pre-written prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Rosary…

Sharing your Prayer with a Gift Tag

After wrapping your gift in prayer attach a gift tag that will be provided for you. Witnessing to your prayer by means of a Gift Tag is like giving an additional gift because it may lead the receiver to become more aware of God’s presence in her or his own life.

This and next weekend Gift Prayer Tags will be available at the doors of the church. Attach the Gift Prayer Tag to a gift, group of gifts or gift bag. You may also duplicate the gift tag sheets on your own computer by visiting our website www.stphilip.org. (Gift PrayerTags).

Advent Hymn

Emmanuel is a Hebrew word that means: God is With Us
Our Advent practice of wrapping our gifts in prayer may lead us into a deeper experience of how very near the Lord is to us in every moment.

A new verse has been composed for the Hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and will be sung as part of the processional at the Eucharist during the Advent season.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
Deep within, as gift, your Spirit dwells.
With Advent’s dawning light, draw us near.
Teach us to love as peacemakers here.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
May This Our Gift Of Prayer, Your Glory Tell.

You are invited to use these words and familiar tune as part of your prayer and reflection.

Weekend Scripture Reflection

  • Isaiah promises that when God is present fear is banished and new ways of seeing, hearing and speaking fill the world with joy and gladness.
  • St. James encourages the faithful to be patient. Patience involves doing what is needed for the good of another.
  • Jesus instructs the disciples to witness to his work in their lives. Witnessing to God’s action prepares the way of the Lord.

Reflection Questions

  1. What areas of fear and doubt are the Lord looking to heal in your life?
  2. How are you being invited to see, hear and speak in new ways this Advent?
  3. Patience is the gift we receive when we accept the need of another before our own. What do you think of this statement? How might it apply in your life?
  4. How do you witness the Lord in your life? What is God calling you to do or say in the name of love?

PRAYER AND SERVICE – THE GIVING TREE

Remember to wrap your gift in prayer and attach the prayer tags identifying the gift. All gifts need to be returned by the weekend of December 22nd to the Giving Tree location.