Easter Sunday Mass was over. A few parishioners stood around after the Easter egg hunt in front of the parish rectory. A child about five, named Ellie, came to up me with her basket of eggs. As I smiled at her, she reached into the basket and took out one green plastic egg with candy inside that she found a few minutes earlier. Smiling back at me, she gave me the egg.

gift

Seeing the smile on Ellie’s face as she offered me her egg, I responded in gratitude, saying, “Thanks very much. That was nice of you. I will put the egg in my office on the bookcase.” She smiled again and left.

As I put the egg in my room, I recalled the meaning of every gift. When we give a gift, we give something of ourselves and share what is in our heart with the one who receives it. Ellie’s gift of a green Easter egg reflected her love and the love of God the Father. He gave us Jesus, the greatest gift of all. We celebrate this great gift on feast days like Easter, Christmas, and every time we pray, attend Mass, and receive Holy Communion.

The next time a child, or an adult for that matter, gives you a gift, accept it with a grateful heart. Let it remind you of the gift of life itself and the perfect gift of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

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A priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and a Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio, Father Bob Hater is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Dayton. Order Fr. Hater’s new book, Common Sense Catechesis: Lessons from the Past, Road Map for the Future.