Christmas is a season when we give gifts to those we love. Like the three wise men of old too we each hope to find the perfect gift to express our love. As I look back on all the perfect gifts that I have gotten over the years, however, I have noticed that none of them came wrapped in paper or were put under a tree. Still, each of them found a forever home in my heart.

My Italian Grandma gave me the forever gifts of her big, strong hugs and soft, gentle kisses.  My Mom’s sweet smile, twinkling eyes, and joyful laughter were gifts which lit up my life for so many years. My Dad gave me the gifts of his wisdom and common sense even though I didn’t always use them. My brothers gave me the gift of time. Although I was several years younger they always made the time to play with their "little brother." My first dog gave me the gift of unconditional love and loyalty. A beautiful girl gave me the gift of my first kiss which made me tingle from head to toe. A favorite teacher gave me the gift of seeing that learning can be a joy instead of a job. My children gave me the gifts of tiny arms wrapped around my neck and "I love you Daddy" whispered in my ear. So many beautiful souls blessed me with the gift of their friendship. I also got gifts in the smiles of strangers, the hugs of neighbors, and the kind letters from people all over the world who had read my writings. Each one of them was precious. Each one of them was eternal.

Not a single one of these forever gifts could be bought in a store. They all had to be given from the heart. They won’t break, rust, or rot either. Instead I will carry them in my soul all through this life and into the next. This Christmas then and every day of the year give your own forever gifts to those you love.


Remember too the wise words of Leo Buscaglia: "This life you are given is God’s gift to you and how you live it is your gift to God."


By: Joseph J. Mazzella