St. Nicholas’s feast day today reminds us that Christmas gift giving is for children. As I grow older, I care little about gifts that I am giving or receiving from other adults, but I do care about children receiving during this season. Giving trees in our parishes keep the spirit of giving to children alive at this time.
Need to lean more about St. Nicholas, the original Christmas gift giver? Do so here.
My teen son has asked for typical Christmas gifts for his age: Xbox, iPod, paintball shirt, books and music—normal things that I am grateful his extended family can afford to give to him this year. We are blessed with good jobs. Hopefully, we are raising him to understand our wealth and that he, too, needs to give to other children this time of year.
Wrestling is my son’s latest sports passion. My tough guy came home from his first wrestling meet last Saturday in pain and was completely exhausted. He did not want to talk about the meet, nor did he want me to make him a sandwich. He wanted only that I hold him, quietly, and just be there.
He reminded me: My greatest gift to him is my time and attention. It’s not a new Xbox, iPod, paintball shirt or Christmas chocolates. It’s not a pep talk or even a sandwich. It’s my quiet holding.
The phrase “slowed time” in Ilia Delio’s new book Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis has me pondering further about time and attention:
“If we are to live compassionately today, then we need to feel the pulse of life in the concrete pain of existence. We need hearts that feel for another and the patience of slowed time to be for another.”
Will you offer slowed time and feel for a child this Christmas season?