For me, one of the real gifts and blessings of the Christmas season is the gift of spouse. It was on December 12, 1962, that Jun Catan and I were united in the sacrament of marriage. And we are still happily in love with each other until now, 48 years later! Isn’t that a real gift!!! A miracle!!! And every Christmas season, especially on this 12th day of December, I thank God especially for His gift to me of a loving, God-fearing, caring, exciting, wonderful, hard-working, etc. etc. etc. husband.

Every Christmas as I thank God for his gift of spouse, I like to reread about the real gifts of this special holiday as written in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance, in her Dec 10 rumination. She lists seven sets of gifts, saying that the real gifts of Christmas were wrapped in miracles. I agree because only God could have scripted how Jun and I first met, our courtship by snail mail, and our marriage; truly I believe these were miracles.

Breathnach writes that the first gift was of Spirit, the Spirit of the Unconditional Love of God for mankind. The next gift came from a Jewish teenage girl, Mary, whose Christmas present was selflessness, the complete surrender of ego and will needed to bring Heaven down to earth. The gifts of her betrothed Joseph were trust and faith.

The Infant Child brought forgiveness, wholeness, and second chances for God’s people. The angels’ gifts were tidings of comfort, joy, and peace, with the assurance that there was nothing to fear, so rejoice. The shepherd boy’s gift was generosity in giving Jesus his favorite lamb.

The Wise Men, the Magi, offered not only gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but their real gifts were wonder, acceptance, and courage. They offered wonder by surrendering logic, reason, and common sense to follow a Star. Accepting the impossible situation they found themselves in, they suspended skepticism long enough to double-cross King Herod. With courage, they made the long journey to kneel before the Christ Child, accepting Him as King even though they found him in a cave lying in a straw-filled manger.

Yes, Christmas is all about gifts. Real gifts. Miraculous gifts. Gifts tied with heartstrings of Unconditional Love. Selflessness. Trust and Faith. Forgiveness. Second Chances. Generosity. Joy. Peace. Reassurance and Rejoicing. Wonder. Courage. Gifts wrapped in miracles and blessings, tied with the ribbon of God’s Love.

And, I hasten to add, the gifts and blessings of: A loving, God-fearing spouse. Three wonderful children, all married with their own families. Twelve lovely and lively grandchildren. Three adorable great grandchildren. A worthwhile livelihood, MAPECON, with Jesus as its President. The BCBP Community – a source of inspiration, encouragement, and many caring friends. Of course, this list of real gifts can go on and on… For everyone we meet is a gift from God, a small, but significant miracle He places in our lives, whether we know it or not, whether we like that person or not.

These miraculous gifts are not to be found in malls or on the internet. We cannot order them by phone and have them delivered to our doorstep. We must open our hearts not only to receive such real gifts gratefully and enjoy them, but also in the spirit of Christmas, share what we have, what we receive, and give truly real gifts, gifts of little miracles and blessings, to family, friends, and even to casual acquaintances. Never forget that many times God works his miracles through us. Awesome thought, isn’t it!

Jun and I extend our warmest wishes to you all for a most blessed and joyful Advent and Christmas season this year, brimming over with Real Gifts, both those given and those received.

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