12.20.17: God surprises us with gifts

December 20, 2017


Homily from the 7:45 a.m. Mass for St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point, Ind.


Who wrote the Gospel?


What's the big red book called?


Has anyone ever surprised you?


What was your last big surprise?


God surprised Mary. Here she is, just beginning her life with Joseph, and this angel suddenly appears. How would you feel if an angel appeared to you?


This angel, his name is Gabriel, and he tells Mary that she’s going to be a mom, but not just any mom. She’s going to be the mother of God’s own Son. That’s a pretty big job, right?


Now God’s not going to choose just anyone to be the mother of his son, right? He’s going to choose someone very special, and Mary, she’s about as special as you can get. But guess what? She has no idea how special she is. She thinks she’s just a normal young woman, no different than anyone else. But God had different plans.


And God has different plans for all of you, because each of you is special. Each of you has been gifted by God with certain talents and abilities, but you know what? We have to be willing to let God surprise us, just like he surprised Mary.


So, over these next few weeks, pay attention to when you’re happiest. Maybe it’s when you’re doing something artistic, like decorating for Christmas. Maybe it’s something creative, like helping to make Christmas cookies. Maybe it’s something athletic, like playing basketball. Maybe it’s those times when you connect with friends and show how you’re a good listener. Those moments when you’re happiest, that might just be God surprising you with some news of your own. That might be God letting you know you have some gifts that aren’t going to fit under a tree. That might be God letting you know he’s planted some special gifts in your heart.


Think about how you’ll say ‘yes’ to using those gifts from God, just like Mary said ‘yes,’ and helped give us Jesus, that very first Christmas gift.

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© 2015 by Jeff Burton.