Wednesday, 14 December 2016


Stewardship  - a charity which encourages generosity - reflects on the wonder of the incarnation and Mary's response in the wonderful hymn of praise she sings.

The reflection at the end caught my eye: 
"Do we sing songs of gratitude when we give? Here is Mary, a young teen, receiving the gift of a son, but with serious strings attached. This was not a child that she would be able to keep to herself; he was to be shared with the world as a saviour, a living sacrifice to reunite us with our God. And Mary sings in praise and thanksgiving."

Not a child she would be able to keep to herself. I have been reflecting on a Christmas without any of our children at home, which is the first time ever. Son at in-laws, daughter also at in-laws on the other side of the world. And, quite frankly, have been feeling sorry for myself, battling sadness in what is supposed to be a joyful season.

But none of us can keep our children to ourselves. They are God's gift to us, gifts to be shared. We rejoice when our children share their lives with a soul-mate in marriage. We are pleased and proud when they make choices to serve others in their work and in their play, giving generously of their free time. We admire our son and daughter-in-law who pour themselves out in teaching children who have had a much poorer start in life. We watch in wonder as our daughter and son-in-law choose to work among the neediest of this world, refugees in a war-torn area.

We have been privileged - for which we praise and thank God - to have had these amazing people living with us for much of their lives. Of course, we are still in close relationship - just not physically present. We do well to remember that we should not expect to keep God's gifts to ourselves, nor is it good for us.

And so we can join in as the Stewardship reflection finishes with a prayer:
"Today, we pray that Advent may be a time for us each to kindle, or rekindle, a spirit of gratitude and praise to God to be evident as we give to and receive from one another."

Gratitude and praise. Simple.


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