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The True Presents of Christmas

December 26, AD 2012 3 Comments

Isn’t it sad that it is Jesus’ birthday and everyone gets presents except for him? That’s what the priest said at a mass for children at the school I work at. So I didn’t feel as bad when I didn’t have presents to give to my family members and friends at Christmas (a combination of laziness and being against the crazy present giving). What’s important is Jesus’ present, right?

I felt my own poverty when I didn’t have gifts to give people and I felt my own poverty when I found out exactly how much I want approval from others. I felt my own poverty when I was scared of a family dinner and of socializing with others. I felt my own poverty when I didn’t like my unfashionable clothes, didn’t bake at all and didn’t make anything adorable from Pinterest. I felt my own poverty in trying to manage my turbulence of emotions and the conflicts that arise from spending a lot of time with a lot of people in a short period of time.

So it was easier to contemplate baby Jesus in his poverty. It was easy to relate to his vulnerability, crying, poor conditions and anonymity. I wanted so bad to have that inner feeling of peace, and walk around radiating Jesus’ love to my family and friends, while baking cookies and caroling. I realized, however, that what Jesus wants as a present is for me to unite myself to him in my own poverty, powerlessness and… overall babyishness. And the peace of the baby Jesus can be in my heart amidst turbulent feelings, constant insecurity, imperfect family members and the solitude of night. What a great mystery that the King of Kings comes as a baby. What a great mystery that God’s plan of salvation operates in this incredible poverty of mine and of my family.

“Love, peace, joy and unity are the gift of Jesus at Christmas. My prayer for you is that you make your family something beautiful for God.” – Mother Teresa


Filed in: Religion, Spirituality • Tags: ,

About the Author:

Julie Machado is a 30-year-old wife, mother and Portuguese-American who grew up in California, but moved to Portugal for college and has been there ever since. She has a degree in Theology from the Catholic University of Lisbon and has special interest in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. She blogs at Marta, Julie e Maria.