The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
by Vernita Kennen
How shall I receive thee... These words from an old hymn have been running through my mind these past few days as I try to keep the bustle of the upcoming holiday season from interfering with my Advent journey. All of us are challenged by the culture in which we live, a culture which seems fixated on gifts for each other and yet gives little heed to the gift we receive from God on Christmas Day.
If I remember to focus on my preparation for the reception of the gift of God incarnate in the birth of the Christ Child, I find that my attitude to others changes. I can more easily smile at even the most trying moment when my patience has worn quite thin. I can gently suggest that I don’t need another sweater but would prefer that a gift be given in my honor to an agency or organization that really does help people in need this season. Of course, that usually means that I recommend a hunger-related gift - to our local food shelf, to a neighborhood shelter, or to the ELCA World Hunger program.
We also receive the gift of the Christ Child through prayer and pondering how we can mindfully prepare for the oncoming new year. In their newsletter, Bread for the World provided suggestions for prayer focused on our commitment to end hunger. They suggest asking God these questions in your prayers:
May I, and you, be ready to receive the very best gift this season. Ponder quietly and be ready for the arrival of the Christ Child. Look forward into the new year and ask how we can better do God's work in ending hunger. Listen for God's answers - and may Christmas joy and hope be yours.