Sunday, December 07, 2008

Advent - Day 9

Getting or Giving – Luke 12:15; Psalm 100
Monday, December 8

A common question this time of year is “What are you getting for Christmas?” Running a close second is “What would you like (to get) for Christmas?” In our family we were always asked for lists of some things we would like and that habit continues. At times I wonder if asking those questions or asking for a list sends the wrong message.

Luke cautioned us to be on our guard against all greed, but even more to the point are his words that say our lives are not measured by our possessions. We are not defined by our material possessions—at any age.

Maybe a more appropriate question to ask is “What are you giving?” Following the admonition of Psalm 100 is a good place to start. When our hearts are centered on giving God thanks and praise, we become more alive to what we can give rather than what we will get.

Words to consider: What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: Give my heart. (taken from In the Bleak Midwinter, words by Christina Rossetti)

The hymn from which I took the "words to consider" is very special, not only because it's a favorite Christmas hymn, but it is one I asked our daughter Marty to sing at my ordination. She arranged it for piano and voice and I heard it for the first time after I was given the charge in the ordination service. I'll never forget these words, the haunting melody or her beautiful, clear voice. All God wants from any of us is for us to give Him our hearts--simple, and yet sometimes so difficult.

The routine scans I had scheduled for last Monday turned out to be anything but routine. The short story is that a vein was blown during the process, dye leakend into my arm and I have had a time with blisters every since. Originally it was thought the entire process would have to be repeated, but fortunately the pictures were clear enought to be usable. The oncologist on Friday told us that some of the signs of disease had disappeared and some were smaller so we know the chemo is working. As I reported to some, I was ready to break out in a loud rendition of the Doxology. And, one friend responded that it sounded more like the Hallelujah Chorus was in order. I do not know why God continues to pour out His favor on me, one who is so undeserving. Yet, I do know. It's all because of who God is: compassionate and full of grace and mercy. I don't ask for more life anymore; I just thank God for each day!

The shoe was on the other foot tonight. Carolers from the church came by, stood on our front porch in the cold, and sang to us. The first voice I heard was Drew, saying, "Hi, Maw Maw." Then when we opened the outer door, we got hugs from both Drew and Sarah. The experience was special, but especially so to see two of our angels right on the front row. All the years I took others caroling, I wondered if people really cared if we came or not. I know I cared tonight!

I trust your Christmas preparations are going well--both spiritually and physically. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of extended family and anticipating our time with each and every one.

Pastor Margaret

No comments: