December 21, 2014

Parish Advent Program

Wrap your Gifts in Prayer

Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. 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 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 them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer. Even if you are not the wrapper you may pray for recipients of Christmas greetings and gifts.

Prayer Method Choices

  • Imagine -visualize the person for whom you pray. Picture the Lord blessing them.
  • Speak – pray out loud, “Lord surround (name) with your light, fill him/her with your peace.”
  • Sing – a Christmas carol.
  • Gesture – dedicate the use of your hand motions in wrapping as your prayer.
  • Hear – simply repeat the person’s name knowing that the Lord hears our every word.
  • Recite – a pre-written prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Rosary . . .
  • Act – reach out to someone in need of the gift of your care.

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.

Gift Prayer Tags are available at the doors of the church. Attach the Gift Prayer Tag to a gift, group of gifts or gift bag. You may also wish to duplicate the gift tag sheets on your own computer by visiting our website www.stphilip.org.

Weekend Scripture Reflection

  • King David is invited to make a home for God amid God’s people.
  • The strength of Christ available to us is no longer a mystery, but a proclamation to God’s glory.
  • The angel proclaims that nothing is impossible for God.

Christmas Reflection

The famous Catholic actor of stage and screen, Helen Hayes, enjoyed telling the following story about her favorite Christmas dinner. Although a notoriously bad cook, she decided one year to prepare a Christmas dinner. “This is the first turkey I’ve ever cooked,” she warned her family. “If it isn’t right, I don’t want anyone to say a word. We’ll just get up from the table, without comment, and go to a hotel for dinner.” In a few minutes she returned to the dining room, where the family had expectantly settled around the table – wearing their hats and coats!

Although our gifts and talents vary, God bountifully gives us the gift of our lives to share with others. Whenever we reach out in love we are most like God. All is gift; even our desire to reach out in love and service to others is itself God’s gift.

At Christmas we celebrate Our Lord who chose to share our humanity so that we might share God’s divine love with one another. This Christmas we are invited to unwrap the gift of God in our lives through prayer. Prayer helps us to recognize our gifts and empowers us to share them with others.

Prayer is the key. Prayer enables us to unwrap the gift of love by sharing our thoughts, feelings and actions. The greatest Christmas gift we can give to another person is the gift of ourselves. In all of the holiday bustle some precious gifts to give are time, attention, and listening.

God’s love dwells within us and is reborn in our hearts this Christmas. May Our Lord open us to unwrap our love as a gift for others. Amen.

Reflection Questions and Activities

  • What and who are God’s gifts to you? Give God thanks in prayer as the key to God’s love.
  • Remember some key examples of how Christ shared his love? How does Christ share his love today?
  • In what ways are you being called to turn the key of your mind, heart and will to love like Christ in action?
  • The key gift is the gift of self. What one action can you take to give yourself as a gift to another?

“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.”
Karl Rahner, Belief Today. (Freely Adapted)

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