The many gifts of the season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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Gifts. We plan them, save money for them, buy them, wrap them … and in some cases stand in long lines to exchange them. There’s a lot of thought put into them, which makes sense they’re one of the biggest buzzwords of the holiday season.

And while it is always exciting to receive a present, I’m sure you can agree there are few emotions that match the wonderful feeling of having someone you love open a gift that you’ve bought for them. The smiles, gratitude, thankfulness – and often giggles and squeals if you’re giving something to a child – make any work of acquiring the gift well worth the effort and the price tag.

It’s always worth giving what you can.

Though we all love the gifts, food and celebration, we should always remember the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

And while toys and clothes and candles and electronics all fit nicely under a tree, I’m hoping that as 2020 closes we can each think back over the past year and remember some of the favorite gifts we were fortunate enough to receive – health, perspective, time, wisdom, understanding, peace, joy and a host of things we can’t put a bow on.

As strange and as impossible as it seemed at times, 2020 was a gift. And 2021 will be one, too.

I think the main question we should ask ourselves as we close out this year is: What gifts do we hope to give others in 2021?

And I think it’s important that we think beyond what we can buy.

While financial constraints vary from person to person, there is a gift that everyone can give: time. Time to your loved ones, to your faith community, to your grandchildren or children’s school, to your parish and to whatever you’re passionate about.

It’s always worth giving what time you can.

And then there are the individual gifts that we were each born with. Some of us have the gift of compassion, while others are natural-born leaders. There are some of you with a gift for writing, singing, athletics, running a business or being a parent. The amazing thing about these gifts is that no matter how much you use them, you will never run out.

It’s always worth giving what you can of yourself.

I hope that this holiday season brings you all the gifts you need and the space to give back with your own gifts.


Jaclyn Hotard is the St. John the Baptist Parish President. The Parish Government Office can be reached at 985-652-9569.