What did you get for Christmas? Was it everything you’d hoped for? Or are you at that stage of life where gifts are nice, but you really don’t need anything special? A lot of my family has come to that point, because we’re at that point where the gifts aren’t so important as it is to be together at Christmas and enjoy one another.
Today’s first reading is exhorting us to something similar. While the rest of the world waits in line for hours to get whatever the coveted gift of the year may be, we have the consolation of knowing that nothing like that is ultimately important, or will ever make us ultimately happy. The real gift that we can receive today, and every day, is the gift of Jesus, the Word made flesh, our Savior come to be one with us as Emmanuel.
Saint John tells us quite clearly: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Because what we have is so much better than anything the world can give. Anna the prophetess in the Gospel reading recognized the Gift. She had been waiting for it, praying for it, every day of her life. Heaven forbid that we should miss it!
The real gift this Christmas, and really every day, is the gift of eternal life. And we have that gift because Jesus came to earth and chose to be one with us in our human nature. That’s why the angels sang that night, and why we sing his praise every day of our lives.