Nothing better than as a little child, to wake up on Christmas morning and see the very things you wished for waiting for you with a bow on it. No strings attached, no effort on your part, you just wake up and there it is: happiness in a box.
As an adult, that mentality can slip into our prayers and into our life as a whole. Come down here big, fat jolly guy and make me happy. Fix my marriage, fix my money problems, find me a job, make my kids behave, get me in shape, and, oh yeah, do it by tomorrow when I wake up.
How do we get past these troubling times? How do we “get fixed?” The first step is to realize that Jesus, not Santa Claus, is the answer.
The decisive answer to every one of man’s questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ, or rather is Jesus Christ Himself.
Blessed John Paul II
So, is this Jesus a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of guy? Does God only “help those who help themselves?”Do we have to do something? Or can we just wait around until Christmas morning? The answer is revealed in Matthew 6:25-34.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
We, of course, must do something as it says in verse 33. We are to “seek first” His Kingdom and righteousness. Practically speaking, when we are in the midst of trials, what does that mean, what are we to do?
It starts and ends with prayer. Prayer, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, is our relationship with God. If our relationship with God is prioritized correctly, we will prepared for, open to and receptive of His movement and grace in our life. If our relationship with God is prioritized correctly, we will trust, fully and fervently, in Him.
So whatever trials befall you this day, ask our Lord to lead you to His grace in and through these moments. Ask Him to direct your every thought, word and action. Ask Him for the courage to follow His lead. He will hear you and provide for you. He will gift you with the grace necessary. He will draw you in to Himself, bring you closer to Heaven. He will make you holy. That is greater than any gift Santa Claus can bring.
God wants only that we be made holy. Whatever He gives or permits in this life he gives for this purpose: trial as well as consolation, hurt and mockery and abuse, the world’s harassments and the devil’s temptations, hunger and thirst; illness and poverty as well as pleasure and prosperity. God permits all of these for our good.
Saint Catherine of Siena