SPidge Tales

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Merry Christmas

What Can I give Him
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man
I would do my part.
What can I give Him?
Give Him my heart.

One of the most beloved Christmas stories is the legend of the Christmas Rose. It is the story of a poor girl named Madelon. Seeing others bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the little child, she was saddened that she had nothing to give. She went out in search of a flower to pick, but, alas, it was winter, and no flowers were to be found. As she dropped down and began crying, an angel appeared. From Madelon’s tears sprung a blush blooming with white roses. The greatest gift given to the Christ child that day was not gold, frankincense, nor myrrh. It was those beautiful Christmas Roses.

I see this tale as a story about vocation. It is relevant whether it is the Christmas season or not, and whether one is a religious believer or not. Vocation is more than just a job. Your job can be a vocation, but it is not necessarily. Your vocation is what you are called to do. It is what you are to give back to others.

One of Jesus’s parables is the one about the talents. Jesus tells of a rich man who gives talents, or money, to three men. He gave one 5 talents, one 3, and the last, 1. The man who received 1 talent went and buried his money in a hole. The one who received 2 talents invested his money and made another 2 talents. The one who started with 5 invested and likewise doubled his money. The three men returned to their master and told him how they did. The master was pleased with the two who made more money. He was angry at the man who did nothing with his 1 talent. He took it from him and gave it the man with 10 talents. “To everyone who has, more will be given; but from the one who has not, even that will be taken away.”

Conservatives love to use this story to “show” how Jesus loved Capitalism. But, that is a misreading of the story. The message is that we each have different “talents,” so to speak. God has given each of us different gifts. Some of us are smart, some handsome, some not. But, no matter how big or small, we all have gifts, and we are all called to use them to help others. This is what vocation means. The priesthood is what we often think of when we hear ‘vocation,’ and that definitely is a great vocation. Yet, we all have a vocation in life. We are all called to share our gifts. And, sometimes the smallest gift is greatest, like the Christmas Rose.


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