"The family should be that human reality where you learn the art of Life and of Love"
The little girl was preparing her Christmas package. She wrapped a box with very expensive golden paper. She used a disproportionate amount of paper, bows and colored ribbon.
"What are you doing?," her father asked, bitterly reproachful. "Youre wasting all the paper! Do you have any idea how much it costs?"
The teary-eyed girl took refuge in the corner of the room, holding the box to her heart. The evening of Christmas Eve, with her tiny bird-like steps, she approached her dad still sitting at the table and handed him the box wrapped in the costly paper.
"Its for you, daddy," she murmured.
Her father was moved by her gesture. Maybe he had been too hard on her. After all, the gift was for him. He loosened the ribbon, gently tore the golden paper aside, gradually opened the box. It was empty! The unpleasant surprise rekindled his irritation, and he shouted: "And you wasted all this paper and all this tape to wrap an empty box!"
As tears swelled up in her big eyes, the little girl said, "But its not empty, Papa! Ive put in a million kisses!"
Today, that is why there is a man in the office holding a shoe box on the desk. "But its empty," people all say. "No. Its full of my little girls love," he answers.
In the life of a family, there are often many "empty boxes". They are considered empty because we are becoming incapable of seeing what is "invisible."
We talk about a feeling, a sentiment, that is constructive and indispensable for the family, for human relationships, good manners, life. It looks like nothing. It is the very fiber of love, but nobody thinks of it.
For Don Bosco, it was very important. He even gave rise to a celebration for just that!
They call it gratitude, and its beautiful synonym: thankfulness. It starts right here: to know how to be thankful, to know how to see. Our daily lives are full of gifts: there are people who clean, prepare food, provide the basics, people who bring comfort, who encourage, who bring joy, and there are people who speak and those who listen. To notice this, to be aware of all these gifts, is to feel within oneself the marvelous lymph that unites and asks but to grow and propagate: Love.