In the second book of the Maccabees we read about the heroic martyrs of the Jewish people. “Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord” (2 Macc 7:20). This mother was able to put her hope into words for her sons, thereby giving them encouragement to obey God’s laws rather than the laws of human beings. In her wisdom, she taught her children, giving them the best gifts: knowledge of God, hope in God’s promises, and courage in the face of God’s enemies.
With Thanksgiving tomorrow, and with the holiday season upon us, it is time to think about giving the best gifts to our friends and family members. It’s also time to think about obtaining the best gifts ourselves. Let’s add these gifts to our list: deeper knowledge of God, greater hope in God’s promises, and firmer courage in the face of God’s enemies.
These gifts come ultimately from God, but we can collaborate in the giving process. To collaborate in obtaining the first gift, read the Bible or a reputable work of theology. For the second gift: make a daily act of hope, such as an internet search might reveal. For the third gift, look for ways to mention God or the angels or the saints in conversations with people who might be hostile to the topic. And whenever you experience these gifts, be thankful.