Gifts That Grate

It’s become a trend in our society to treat Advent like a four-week, pressure-filled, gift-acquisition contest –  A veritable minefield of love. “Take heed, Christians,” Madison Avenue taunts us. “Only the buyer who can give the Mostest-Pleasingest-Bestest Gift of All will prevail!” One such ad I saw recently even claimed that ’Tis the Season to Get It Right: as if we humans can somehow shop well enough to fulfill our beloved ones’ every need and thus finally, finally provide them with the ultimate and lasting satisfaction they crave.

Well, of course, we simply aren’t equipped to do that. Only God can give that gift. And his “lesser” gifts – given as necessary tools to help us open that ultimate gift – don’t usually make me want to pump my fist in the air and spontaneously start a’rockin’ around a tinselly tree. No, God’s gifts tend to come to me – to all of us, I think – in styles and sizes we’d instinctively rather exchange for something softer…sweeter…and smaller: something we won’t have to work so hard to grow into.

One such gift from God is humility.

With that particular gift in hand today, I refer back to last week’s article about the Canticle Café. I’m sorry. In my enthusiasm to convey to you the outstanding, amazing joy that blooms from becoming involved in the sacred and necessary work that goes on there, I was discourteous to the very people who have made that involvement possible. They established a firm foundation of a true relationship with the friars and with our broken, hurting brothers and sisters downtown. They built our awareness, championed our compassion, and garnered abundant practical assistance for the outreach center’s clients. Every bit of that work has uplifted and enriched us – in Troy and in Detroit. For all that and more, I thank them, and I sincerely apologize for the offense.

In continued humility, I beg you: please, everyone, try to find some way today to contribute to our annual Christmas Ball to benefit the Canticle Café. They really, really need your help.  You could buy tickets and come (Don’t worry about what to wear! Some attendees wear old brown robes!), or you could donate an auction item, or you could volunteer to help with cleaning up. Please contact Patricia Ullmann (ext. 121) with any questions.  What a beautiful, memorable way to enjoy a gift that’s truly great.