Padre’s Corner: What is a gift?

St. Brendan’s Chapel at Stadacona. CFB HALIFAX

Padre’s Corner: What is a gift?

By LCol Dennis Newhook,
Formation Chaplain, MARLANT & JTFA  

This time of year is filled with a lot of requests for gifts of varying sorts, from monetary, presents and volunteering just to mention a few. We are asked to bring gifts to office events, parties, or to donate gifts at the mall and other places for children, to make sure all children have a gift under the tree.  

These initiatives are all wrapped in the joy of giving and sharing what we have with others, and they are all wonderful initiatives which, unfortunately, we will have to keep up for the foreseeable future. This year, images of people experiencing homelessness, people struggling to make ends meet, increased use of food banks and, of course, conflicts in many areas of our world, are front and center in our minds. Many of our communities and the people within them have been affected by these either directly or indirectly. 

Amid all these negatives, we all strive to be a better neighbour, friend and family member.  We all, at varying levels, attempt to think of others at this time of year and do all we can to spread love in our own ways. I am reminded of a quote I recently read that said “it is better to light a candle than to complain about the darkness”. 

When I think of gifts, I am reminded of the gifts we have each day like the gift of the wonderful country and community in which we live, or the gift of family and friends. With all the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings, I remind you to not only think of others but to also think of yourself and to make sure you are ok. Take time to slow down and enjoy all that this time of year has to offer. 

Reflect on people who love you, the people who have formed you, rescued you, or delighted in you. Find a way to get in touch with sights, sounds, and tastes which smack of amazing goodness and delight in life. Life is a gift, and in so many ways, such a good gift. Don’t miss the opportunity to express your gratitude for life. Gratitude makes the good things even more real!  

The greatest gift we have is time – time to spend with the ones we love, time to pick up the phone and call that person whom you have not spoken to in a while, and time to slow down and enjoy and notice all that is around you. As Christians, we are now in the season of Advent, which is a time to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the Christ Child. Advent is a time set aside for Christians to prepare and take time to ensure we are ready to receive the Christ Child.  

As you all prepare to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones in whatever way you choose, may you not lose sight of the gift that is life!