The Truer Gift As Seen in a Touching Christmas Commercial

"Catholic Charities Chicago, Photo 1 - Flickr - USDAgov" by U.S. Department of Agriculture. Licensed under  CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Catholic Charities Chicago, Photo 1 – Flickr – USDAgov” by U.S. Department of Agriculture. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

There is an old saying that the greatest things in life aren’t things. Our greatest gifts are those we love, beginning with God, and extending to one another.

One of the great dangers at Christmastime (and with life in general) is that we maximize the minimum and minimize the maximum, or, as Jesus puts it, we strain out gnats and swallow camels (Matt 23:24).  He said this about the religiously observant of his day, who meticulously followed small, technical rules about cleanliness and ritual purity, but neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness (Matt 23:22).

In other words, at Christmas we can focus so much on buying things and arranging various events that we neglect or even harm those who are our greatest gift.

Consider the sad situation that many have now largely set aside the once-sacred Thanksgiving holiday when people could spend time with family and enjoy their company. Why? So that stores can be open for people to leave the people they love in order to run out and buy things for them. The gift eclipses both the giver and the recipient. And on top of that, we potentially sin against charity by creating a climate that requires the poor and those of the lower-wage working class to work on Thanksgiving.

Add to this the short tempers at the shopping malls (often caused by heavy traffic, long lines, and out-of-stock items) and the impression is created that things are more important than people. Not all suffer from this, but it is a problem.

The video below provides a touching reminder that the truer purpose of a gift is the well-being of another and the love we can show at Christmas.

The basic scene is that two snowmen are built, a kind of husband-and-wife, snowman family. But one has, and the other has not. Seeing his wife’s need, the husband snowman sets out, enduring great hardship and overcoming many obstacles, in order to get for his wife what she needs. The greatest gifts are those that show care for another.

Through the window, the “creator” of the snowman watches this act of love unfold. At the touching end of the video, the creator is very pleased.

And so, too, our Creator and Lord is also watching from the window of Heaven and He is pleased with our acts of mercy as well.

The greatest things in life aren’t things; they are those we love. And the greater gift this Christmas is not so much the things we give, as the care and love we extend through those gifts, and the shared gift of our very selves.

5 Replies to “The Truer Gift As Seen in a Touching Christmas Commercial”

  1. Amen Father. The heart of Christmas is after all-love. Love has come to mean things, instead of hearts. One of the hardest Christmases i ever had happened at 17. My mother and i had spent all day picking out just the perfect gifts for my sister and two brothers. My mother had them all gift wrapped before we left the stores and i recall i happy i felt, that they would have such a loving Christmas. My mother pulled into a Long’s drugstore, told me to watch the gifts she’d just be a minute. When she got back in the car, she handed me a paper bag which held a curling iron and some hairspray. and said Merry Christmas. i never forgot that pain. And i thank God for it enables me to try at least to be compassionate and loving with others.

    1. Oh Candida, I’m so sorry you had such a tough Christmas that year, but you correctly identified it as a blessing. God visited you that Christmas in your tears and called you to Him. Where your siblings recieved things, you recieved Him.

      We so often put so much effort into giving others our idea of the perfect gift, it is easy to lose site of the object of that loving act. Our gift becomes a gift to self, rather than a gift of self. When we become the object of the act, it becomes almost cannibilstic and creates the ill will we often associate with the season of “giving”.

      Putting the Lord before us in everything we do opens our eyes and hearts and helps our gifts to be good. The peace of God that accompanies would bring Frank Capra like joy to holiday shopping.

      1. We now live in the age of back space and delete. If someone offends us, we simply delete them with as little thought as using the keyboard function. The cruelties and casual elimination of people who displease us has become a common Holiday theme. In speaking with someone and asking what their plans were for Christmas, i heard this. We’ll have the big dinner and presents thing. Well, i know you love having family around the table. Will your uncle Bob be Santa again? No, Bob won’t be there. Oh no! Is he ill?? No… iI don’t want him upsetting everyone with his religious babble. Poor Bob. Deleted.

        What we do not see is the bitter harvest of hurt and anger such cruelty sows. At my Christmas that year, the harvest was dark and bitter indeed. For on Christmas morning, my brothers suffered for me. Despite my best efforts their hurt and rage destroyed something in them. Both of them died very young, in hideous circumstances. Worst yet, they died hating our mother. We have to stop hurting and begin truly loving one another. Christmas, truly a celebration of God’s merciful love, should have no cruelty in it.

        We must stop nursing and cherishing hurts and anger and begin bringing love and forgiveness to everyone. Mercy and forgiveness are truly the most loving and beautiful of gifts we could give anyone. i know because through all the years of focused abuse my mother used on me, i forgave her from my heart. She could not accept this, but for me, as it should be for all, it set me free to pour out all that hurt to the world in love. That my brothers and sisters is what Christmas is all about. God bless you all.

        1. Dear Candida- thank you for sharing that story- so many are sad at Christmas especially- they think they are the only ones who are suffering in a joy filled world. You are blessed to have accepted the grace of forgiveness- which the Lord gives to all if they accept it. Unforgiveness is a barrier to a relationship to HIM and He wants you to be close to His heart and forgive as He does- which you surely did as you passed that test with flying colors!! But having said all that- I want to say that I am sorry that you suffered hurt that way. Maybe no one has said that to you- and I felt compelled to. Keep on forgiving and sharing that forgiveness to others- it has been a theme lately- so I truly believe the Lord is calling us in a NEW WAY to focus on Mercy! Bless you sister!

  2. I remember, after I came back to the Church, I was living with my mom, at the time, and I told her that I didn’t make it to Mass on Thanksgiving. She had to tell me that Thanksgiving isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation. That was funny.

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