The following was written by a Catholic priest, but I'm uncertain as to whether it was ever published:
It is the time of the year once more when the memory of Jesus loving us and coming to us leads to us to love one another with what gifts we have. Through my prayers and through my weakness and sufferings I am asking God for a Christmas present for you. May I tell you about this gift?
I am asking that when you have done your very best to buy Christmas presents for all those you love, that your resources be pitiably inadequate to purchase all that you desire. Secondly, I am praying that you feel a sense of failure in your life because of this. And finally, that this knowledge of poverty and sense of failure bring keen suffering to your heart as it continues to do its best for those you love. Poverty, humiliation, and suffering are strange Christmas gifts. May I tell you why I pray that you have these?
I have spent too many Christmas seasons with Our Lord to want any other Christmas gift than Him. I know He is the source of true joy for the human heart. I want Jesus to be my Christmas gift this year to you. Where there are conditions like those Mary and Joseph faced, and you and I continue to love Jesus, and for His sake do the best we can for our neighbor, He will come to us. In human bewilderment, emptiness and loneliness there is room for the inflowing of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s truth, power, and goodness. Such souls through faith and hope and love are able to receive Jesus when, in the way He eternally chooses, He is born to them.
Ahead of time Mary and JosephÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s love gathered the best they had at Nazareth in home and cradle for Jesus. God pushed away these gifts. Ahead of time Mary and JosephÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s love planned to stay with kinfolk in Bethlehem. The doors of relatives were closed. They tried to use their modest wealth at the public inn. They were too poor. They would stop overnight at the cattle barn and next day try anew some way to give their best to welcome Jesus. God loved them more than their gifts. When they had given themselves in continued love through failure after failure, they finally had given themselves (the gift He most loved) to the way He wished to be born.
Jesus, eternal truth, is born in poverty, where false treasures of this world blind no eyes. Jesus, eternal life, is born in failures and humiliations, where we hope, not in self, but in the strength of God. Jesus, eternal good, is born in hardship and sufferings, where human love continues to seek His way to true life. God acts according to eternal patterns. He lifts you and me today to spiritual country similar to that through which Mary and Joseph traveled. Our Bethlehems, like theirs, become His most sacred hour. For it is then that He can most be born in our soul. He loves each of us and wants to be our Christmas gift. I pray he be born marvelously in you.