The domestic church is like an enclosed garden; a planned space
for the cultivation, nurture and care of the family.
The present is the only chance to build our family as a domestic church.
It is like a match made in heaven - my husband and children, who love cookies, and a neighbor across the street who owns the best cookie shop in the city. The Cookie-Lady, as we call her, comes to our door to deliver the special cookies herself - a large heart-shaped one for Valentine's, fancy colorful iced ones for Halloween, a plate of assorted Christmas cookies wrapped-up with an elaborate bow for Christmas. Whereas customers pay a price for these cookies, we get them as prizes for being her neighbor!
Enjoyment of the Gift
Saying Thank you when we receive a gift is a social grace and courtesy for acknowledging someone's benevolence to us; saying a heartfelt Thank you, however, comes only after we have truly enjoyed the gift. A gift becomes precisely a gift to us not just because we receive it, but because we fully enjoy it. What woman will not take in deeply the fragrance of a dozen roses given to her and place the vase where she can appreciate their beauty? What man will not savor every bite of a favorite meal cooked just for him? What artist does not experience focused pleasure while applying his creative gifts on a piece of music, design, or art? What parent does not take delight in just watching their infant's face? A true gift brings joy. The proper response to a true gift is the full enjoyment of the gift.
Joy of the Giver
The greatest satisfaction that a gift-giver can have comes in the delight and relish that the gift brings to the one to whom it has been given. The joy of giving is matched only by the joy of knowing/seeing that the recipient utterly enjoys the gift. What man's heart does not fill with joy as a woman he just proposed marriage to gasps and locks her eyes on the ring he just put on her finger? What chef will not bask in pleasure as guests relish his masterpiece concoctions? What parent does not smile at their child who opens a present and becomes ecstatic with joy?
Let us stop to realize the gifts that have been given to us by our loved ones. Let us enjoy them to the full. They are the gift of their love, the gift of their time, the gift of their sacrifices, the gift of their intimacy, the gift of their treasure, and the list goes on. Let us stop to realize the gifts that have been given to us by God. Let us enjoy them to the full. They are the gift of His grace, the gift of life, the gift of faith, the gift of our spouse, the gift of children, and the list goes on. St. Irenaeus is quoted to say, "The glory of God is a man fully alive.” A person fully alive is a person wholly reveling in grace, totally yielding to the Holy Spirit and using His gifts; faithfully living the gift of a new life in Christ. Taking the time to enjoy thoroughly all the gifts that have been given to us is the greatest thanks we can give to our loved ones and to God. The gifts are given to us so that we can "live abundantly." At the end of the day, only heartfelt thanks can be offered, "Let me sing to the Lord for His goodness to me." (Ps 13:7)
Living in abundance is what our family feels when we receive these very special cookies from the Cookie-Lady who lives across the street. The cookies never last past a day because we enjoy them so much. Our children always make a homemade Thank You card; they run to put it in her mailbox. We hope that she realizes that our thanks are always heartfelt because they truly are.