SummaryAs the hype of finding the perfect gift rises to a fevered pitch, Jennifer Elia invites you to take a moment and consider the first gift given to Christ.
As a teenager, I voraciously read Richard Paul Evan’s classic The Christmas Box.
Throughout the story, the reader is taken on an adventure that traces a quest to answer the question, “What was the first gift of Christmas?”
After a heartwarming and beautiful story unfolds, we discover the first gift of Christmas was a mother’s love. It wasn’t the wealth of gold and frankincense, nor the blessing of choirs of angels filling the sky. In the moment of Christ’s birth, His redemption of the world was still unknown.
The most famous and influential child ever to be born received the greatest gift any child could have–the gift of His mother’s love.
1. A Mother’s Love Redeemed the World
Mary, as our mother, not only said yes to having a son, but she also said yes to giving her life and His to redeem us all. Just as God was not found in the mighty wind nor the roaring thunder, the most powerful man to walk this earth arrived as a small child, not a mighty warrior.
Redemption could have taken any form, and like the second coming, Jesus could have descended upon a cloud. However, God the Father chose Our Savior to come to us by a mother’s love.
By love, Mary traveled in haste to minister to her cousin, Elizabeth. In love, she nurtured her growing child, despite the whispers and stares she surely got. Through love, she carried her child within her to the town of Bethlehem.
And in a cold, dark stable, surrounded by animals and straw, she wrapped her child first in love and then in the meager swaddling clothes of a poor, young mother. It was her loving care that brought Jesus to the temple to be dedicated and raised Him to be strong in body.
Her love led him for 33 years on this earth, and it, once again, wrapped Him in warmth before He was laid in the tomb. Mary’s entire reason for being was to love the Christ Child and then the whole world.
Sometimes, as homeschool moms, we feel like we aren’t doing enough. We have no great crusade, no earthshaking ministry like many saints.
We must remember how Mary raised her Son, simply with love and devotion. Her entire mission was to serve her LORD by caring for her child.
God simply wanted her love and her devotion. When we love our children well, we are answering the Father’s call to fulfill our vocation. Our greatest and first gift is our love.
2. Homeschooling Is an Act of Love
Every year, we have a decision to make. Will we continue to homeschool or not? It is a choice that requires a great deal of thought and prayer and isn’t always easily decided. However, most of us choose, once again, to say yes. Our yes will not alter the course of eternity as Our Blessed Mother’s did, but it can surely change the world.
Homeschooling is a great act of love; it is a sacrifice. All those times we would rather do something else or are struggling to keep everything in balance, all the questions of “Am I doing enough?” or “Am I making the right choice?” will, one day, be answered when we see the fruits of our labor–our children grown and successful.
There is no magic recipe to make our children grow into the best they can be; surely even homeschooling doesn’t guarantee that.
However, it is a big step in the right direction to raise children, who are well-educated, grounded in their faith, and prepared to tackle whatever life throws before them. All you are doing is an amazing gift of love.
3. Give gifts of love, and time, not just treasure
During this season of preparation for Christmas, there is such a focus on buying, wrapping, and giving gifts. Too much of this is focused on the material wealth of a gift, not its true worth.
All the store displays and television commercials lead us to believe the best parents give the best gifts and ALL the gifts on their children’s wish lists. What they are trying to get you to give is the best present, not the best gift.
Presents come from stores; gifts come from the heart.
Give gifts of the heart by making special time in your school schedule and your holiday busyness to create memories and traditions that will last long after the latest toy’s batteries have died. This year’s hottest toy is next year’s landfill item.
Not only are all the flashy toys and trends expensive, but they are not built for lasting joy. They all break easily, lose their appeal, and are quickly replaced by the next BIG THING.
The gifts of time, faith, hope, and especially love never fade away. They will remain until the end of time.
So, when weighing what to wrap and place under the tree, remember what Mary gave her precious Son on that first Christmas. She gave Him all she had; she gave Him her undying love!
How will you give a gift of love this year?