Give us your change. Spare a thought for the needy. If everyone were to drop in their loose change, collectively it will go a very long way for the needy. Indeed. This Christmas when, and if, we give, let us spare a thought for our ‘self’. Are we only giving our spares? Are we too busy to pause and ponder about the needy? There is a gift that awaits every ‘self’; it lies in our giving.

“‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’” (Today’s Gospel)

“What must we do?” is a question of the spiritually needy. It is a question that comes from deep within our ‘self’. It is a searching question. It is seeking answers that will bring happiness and peace into our life. It is a question out of tiredness and hunger. Many of us have more than spares to give away. We are materially comfortable, yet we are un-quenchable. We are thirsty for the meaning of life.

We drop our change without sparing a second thought. We are engulfed with issues about ‘self’; our own happiness, our work and our family. Or we are indulging in our self-achieved success, our material comfort laming us of a need for God. Either way we are headed into a dead end, a cul-de-sac, where we find our ‘self’ lost, and wondering about the meaning of this life.

The meaning of life is found in giving and sharing. When we truly give beyond our spares, we can impact the life of others. We attain a fulfilment not experienced in the material world, and certainly not through accumulating everything for ‘self’. We gradually begin to feel that our ‘self’ is satisfied, our inner thirst quenched. We arrive at our epiphany when we realize that the meaning of life is found in the ‘other person’. Giving opens the door into this realm.

Effective giving goes beyond material. It must go beyond spares. It must be thought provoking, soul searching for ‘self’. For many of us our more precious possession is not found in our vault. It is time. Our busy schedules tell us we have no time. Or is it our hidden selfishness that we say we have no time to give? The time we have to live is our life. When we give time, we give our life. In today’s more affluent world, apart from the materially needy, there are many who are in need of our time. Give time is give ‘self’.

Beyond the spare tunic, what every ‘other person’ need is true love. When we give beyond spares, we open the tap of love. Many people, poor and rich, need love. Only when we give our ‘self’ to the ‘other person’ can we truly love.

Love is the truest reason for Christmas. “For God so loved the world that He gave us his only Son so that whosoever believe in Him shall have eternal life”. He gave his only Son whose life was not spared out of love. But with it he brought us gifts of happiness and peace.

“I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. The Lord is very near, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus” (Second reading)

The next time you drop your loose change, spare a though for your ‘self’. Giving is effectively fulfilling. When we share love, we receive the gifts of happiness and peace. In that realm we find the true meaning of our life.

salvation army

3rd Sunday in Advent