Wrap Your Gift in Prayer

PARISH ADVENT PROGRAM

WRAP YOUR GIFTS IN PRAYER

“When I become conscious of God’s actions, no matter how dimly, then I am praying even if I do not say a word.” – William Barry S.J.

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 Prayer Tags).

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.

Reflection on Gift Giving and Prayer

Gifts speak for us. Gifts reveal our thoughts and feelings; they communicate our friendship, love and gratitude. Gifts are freely given symbols that wrap our relationships in lasting bonds. Gifts when seen with the eyes of faith revealed God who is the Giver of all gifts.

Prayer is the gift that uncovers God’s thoughts, feelings, friendship and love for us. Prayer is the way that we express our gratitude to God. Prayer is a gift we give for each other that wraps our relationships with lasting bonds of God’s eternal grace. Prayer awakens the gifts of wisdom, encouragement, renewal and peace. Prayer is the way we unwrap and experience the gift of God in the here and now.

May this our gift of prayer, God’s Glory Tell.

Reflection Questions

  1. What areas of your life are causing you stress and possible grumpiness?
  2. How is God inviting you to share your daily experiences in prayer?
  3. What might you do to discover inner resources of spiritual understanding, wisdom, strength and hope?
  4. What is your plan to prepare the way for the Lord this Advent?
  5. What is your response to the advent invitation to Wrap Your Gifts in Prayer?

We will unwrap the gift of God’s presence in our lives through Scripture, our Church’s rich tradition and by learning new ways to pray. Our session will help us to reflect and recognize our God who is always with us.

Fr Joe

PRAYER AND SERVICE – THE GIVING TREE

The giving tree will be placed near the front entrance of the church holding Gift Tags that specify the needed gift for people served by Catholic Family & Community Servicers, Martin de Porres Village & St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly. Purchase your gift, wrap it, pray for the recipient and attach the Gift Tag.

Some of the Tags are for Food Certificate Gift Cards with various predetermined amounts. Place cash or check in the envelope and pray for the recipient. Return your gift in the collection basket and we will convert it into a food certificate. Your gift wrapped in prayer will be given in the same envelope, as a witness to your prayer.

Remember to wrap your gift in prayer. All gifts need to be returned by the weekend of December 20th to the Giving Tree.