Christmas Gifts

Some of my earliest memories from childhood are of sneaking under the Christmas tree to see what gifts had my name on them. I can remember lifting, shaking, and even peeling back some wrapping paper in order to see what toys my parents had gotten me. One Christmas before I could read I even opened every single gift under the tree. The December after I turned five, however, I was in for a shock. I looked under the tree and found not a single present with my name on the tag. There were gifts there for everyone else but nothing with a "to Joe" on it.

I was heartbroken. It wasnít so much that I was getting no toys. It was the fact that they had forgotten about me. Never in my young life had I felt unloved until that moment. With tears in my eyes I went and got some old toys of mine and some leftover wrapping paper. I had started to wrap them so that I could have something under the tree when my Mom caught me. Taking me in her arms she lovingly explained that I hadnít been forgotten. They had gotten me presents but had decided to hide them from my prying eyes and fingers until Christmas Day. Looking back now I canít even remember what I got that year, but I will always remember that reassuring moment in my Motherís arms. The gift of love she gave me then remains in my heart to this day.

It is the gifts of love that are the greatest gifts of all. Jesusí entire life was a gift of love. As we celebrate His birthday this year then let us all seek to give the gifts of love as well. The gentle hugs, the caring looks, the joyful smiles, and the warm words of love we give will mean more than anything we buy in a store. The time we share, laughter we spread, and kindness we shower on others will live on in their hearts forever.

Leo Buscaglia once said that, "Life is Godís gift to you and how you live it is your gift to God." May your gift be a loving one at Christmastime and always.

Joseph J. Mazzella [email protected]

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