“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” ~ Bil Keane
Bil Keane provided to us, through his wildly popular cartoon, The Family Circus, a positive glimpse of family life. His characters, though cartoons, were so reflective of the world around us that many people thought they must have been real. The cartoons addressed a great number of topics with courage and steadfast determination. Life, death, joy, sorrow, gratitude, cynicism – all these, and more, were woven through the interactions of the children and their parents. Bil Keane also addressed faith issues quite often. He even drew logos for use during Catholic Schools Week for several years.
I loved watching his work as Christmas would draw near. The children would drop hints about the presents they wanted, would wait anxiously to open their presents, and often would fight over the presents they received. However, as the day drew nearer, you could always count on Bil to draw pictures of the children examining the nativity scene, sitting patiently in church pews, or reminding each other about the real hope of the season: Baby Jesus.
There is a slogan that states “Jesus is the reason for the season” and another that states “Jesus is the perfect present.” These sayings might sound a bit trite to many but they are very true. Christmas is not about material presents. It is about the greatest present of all: Jesus Christ. We give presents to one another to remind ourselves of the present that God gave to us.
Today is a gift of God. That is why we call it the “present”. Bil is spot on in today’s quote. However, living in a material world, we often look for presents that we can see and touch. We forget that not all presents are material. The better presents are spiritual. The best present, of course, is God Himself.
Our failure, or reluctance, to see past the material to the spiritual is one of the reasons that we have this wonderful season of Advent. It gives us a chance to view our lives through our spiritual lenses rather than our material ones. Enjoy today. Enjoy this season. Enjoy your life. They are all wonderful presents from a God who loves us so dearly that He gave us the present of His Son. If that is not a message of hope, I don’t know what is.
FAITH ACTION: Do not be afraid to let your faith show in your daily life so that, in doing so, you might bring hope to someone who desperately needs it.