12.31.2011

FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS DAY Year B

In the realm of giving and receiving gifts, there is a particular moment that some people are good at and some are not.

Gratitude.

You have just received a special gift and now you are in the position of finding some way of attempting to express how grateful you are.

Obviously, the depth and expression of gratitude correlates with the gift. AND the depth and expression of gratitude also correlates with the life experience and understanding of the receiver.

Often, the more one understands the circumstances of a gift (what the giver may have had to sacrifice to give the gift and how this gift might change the receiver's life), the more one is able to express gratitude.

This week we see examples of people who were expressing deep gratitude for life-changing gifts.

In the passage from Isaiah we are seeing the words of a prophet that is excited because he has been given the gift, opportunity, and challenge of proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor to the people of Israel. He is overflowing with excitement for the chance he has to tell of all the great things The Lord has promised to do for the people.

In Psalm 148 we see another classic example of exuberant praise and gratitude. This writer is so grateful for what he sees God has done in his life and in the world that he is encouraging everyone (all the way down to the sea monsters) to praise God.

In Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Galatia, we see Paul offering some direct explanation of how / why they should be grateful: "Because you are his heirs, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."  So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." Paul wants to make sure they see and understand the place they were and the place they are.

And in the second chapter of the Good News according to Luke, we see one of the most beautiful expressions of gratitude. It is a passage that has become popularly known as the Song of Simeon. In this scene Mary and Joseph have taken baby Jesus to the temple. According to Jewish custom, it was the time for the purification of the parents of a newborn, and it was also the time when Jesus would be circumcised  "as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord". And while they were there a devout and righteous man named Simeon arrived. Simeon was a special guy. "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah." When he met the baby Jesus, these words flowed from his mouth: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation,  which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."   

Gratitude.

How do you, how do we say or show we are grateful for an almost incomprehensible gift?

God, guide us as we attempt
to Thank You
with our lives.
Each day, 
each moment,
may we show gratitude
with our 
words
actions
thoughts
relationships
interactions
foul-ups
successes
bright spots
dark holes
conscious choices
unconscious reactions
(and on and on and on)
.....God,
we are grateful.
Please be patient with us
as we attempt to express it
with all we are.
Amen.

© matt norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org we want to share
this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that
you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be
with you

No comments: