Anyone who knows me, will appreciate what an excellent gift my Sister-in-law found for me – and thanks again to her for it!
Choosing gifts is always a risky business, especially if someone wants something specific or technical. This year Mr Pamsperambulation selected his own gift and brought it home for me to wrap, because what he wanted wasn’t available, so he had to make a different choice, and he knew what features were important to him.
Yet sometimes giving a physical gift is the easy bit.
Henri Nouwen reminds us that true giving requires,
the giving of self
and that may really cost us… To be available, even when it’s not convenient; to be a friend; to support; to forgive; to keep going; to be open…
That is really giving – holding nothing of ourselves back, giving our all, allowing ourselves to be used.
The Wise Men
2 When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
9 The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
11 When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshipped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.
As we journey this Advent and Christmas, as we look to a new year dawning, what are we offering to God?
Are they the things he needs? Or just something we feel we can give up?
Are we offering him part of us? Or all of us?
Are we just sharing the good, shiny bits of our lives? Or everything? Can we also give the tough bits of our life to God, for him to use?
And do we give ourselves to others? Today’s action is about giving gifts of signposts to those who need it. Are we generous with ourselves and what we give to others? Are we willing to give, even when we don’t know why?
I find today’s prayer in the book powerful:
as the wise visitors from afar
laid their gifts at the feet of the Holy Babe,
let us also lay our worries,
and our wants
so that we may journey unencumbered
to the final revelation with you in heaven.
Give us, we pray,
food and song for the journey
This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen. You’re welcome to join us on this journey. Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub
Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are: