The Gift of Jesus

Bishop Prior and friends on Christmas Eve 2014 at St. Mark’s Cathedral

As he lunged over two seated students while reaching towards me, he shouted, “I’m converting!” Every year during winter finals, which take place the last week before the holiday break, I walk the halls of the Upper School at Breck, handing out candy canes to the beleaguered students. I am always met with surprised joy and lots of expressed gratitude. Yet, this one exuberant student really made me laugh with his humorous comment about converting in exchange for a candy cane. My response, “Free gift my friend, free gift.”

Considering the cultural dynamics around Christmas, I understand, whether he was trying to be humorous or not, why the young lad was confused about the gift. Take for example:

“Are you naughty or nice?” – Implying only those who behave in a certain way will receive the gift.

“They gave us a gift, so we need to make sure we give them a gift.” – Implying gift giving is about parity.

“Don’t forget, we should get so-and-so a gift.” – Implying that gift giving is an obligation.

Now listen to these words:

“Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo.

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo.

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo.”

No expectation, no parity, no obligation, nothing but the purest expression of a gift given in love and received in love… that is the gift of Jesus.

May your Christmas be filled with the gift of the love of Jesus!

Merry Christmas!


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