catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 23 :: 2011.12.23 — 2012.01.05


He gave us himself

As parents of young children, we felt caught between the desire to limit Christmas gift-giving on the one hand, and the desire to recognize and accept generosity on the other.  Grandparents, who had lived through hard times while growing up, expressed love by showering gifts on our two sons.  We wanted our boys to learn gratitude, but also wanted them to learn the difference between the upward mobility of America and the downward mobility of Bethlehem.  And we wanted them to learn gratitude for the gifts and works of God.

We created a small tradition aimed at tempering the consumerist quality of the annual Christmas gift exchange by at least attempting to place it in a broader context.  Before opening gifts, we read this quotation from the Norwegian author, Sigrid Undset:

And when we give each other Christmas gifts in his name, let us remember that he has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans — and all that lives and moves upon them.  He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit — and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused — and to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins, he came down to earth and gave us himself.

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