I love this time of year. Advent is in full swing, Christmas is on the horizon, the kids are getting excited, and we begin to visit our friends and family. This is a busy time of year and sometimes we get caught in the hustle and bustle of it all. This is a busy time of year and sometimes we get caught in the hustle and bustle of it all. We get so busy that perhaps we start to take things for granted. It is a busy time for us, but it is also a busy time for the church. Our priests work very hard and should be included in our Christmas plans. They work hard year-round, but this time of year is much busier than normal. Here are three ways that we can make that happen.
1. Invite Them Over
How many of us can think of someone of hand who may be alone for Christmas? How many of us invited someone in the past who was all alone for the holiday? How many of us have ever invited our priest over for Christmas dinner? I confess that I am guilty of not doing this. Sometimes we get wrapped up in our family gathering that we forget that our spiritual father may not have any family in town. Inviting them over goes a long way in showing that they are appreciated and valued.
2. Thank Them
Think of a time in your life when you did something so often for someone that you stopped getting a thank you. They started to react as if the thing you were doing was expected. Yes, being a priest is their calling and vocation, but that does not mean they don’t need to hear words of encouragement. At this period of time the great priests that we have sometimes get lumped in with the scoundrels and that is unfortunate. A great majority of priests live holy lives and go above and beyond the call of duty for us. They are true spiritual fathers who work tireless hours because they love us and want us to get to Heaven. Take some time whether it be after Mass, an email, card, or phone call to say thank you for what they do.
3. A Small Gift
Priests are people to and enjoy gifts. If you have a good relationship with your priest, then it is acceptable to get him something he will enjoy. My parish priest is a huge lover of American history, especially the development of the constitution. A book or DVD on the subject is appropriate and shows that he is valued. In most cases a gift card or cash is acceptable since priests live on a very modest income. If your priest is part of a community then any cash gifts will go there. Avoid something large and cumbersome unless there is a specific need or request for it.
There are many other things we can do for our priests in addition to these three. There is always need for volunteers. Perhaps you can ask your priest where there is a need and you can volunteer your skill. My point here is that our priests are also our family. They are there for us so let’s be there for them during this great season. Being a priest is not an easy job in today’s world. A small token of our gratitude will go a long way to encourage our priests for the vital mission that they have been given by God.