Gratitude for Christmas Gifts
Rev. Dr. Holly Dillon Inglis
Ministry and Mission Coordinator
Christ, the Word made flesh
Has come to us as a vulnerable,
Weak and dependent babe;
A God who hungered and thirsted,
And longed for human touch and affection;
With a dirty stable as a home
And a borrowed manger as a bed,
In a tiny, insignificant town called Bethlehem.
Oh, Mighty God, of humble origins,
You were born at a time, and in a place
Where few welcomed you
Or even recognized you.
God, grant us the grace to be patient and vigilant
In watching, waiting, and listening attentively.
Remove whatever hinders us from receiving
The gifts which the Savior brings—
Hope, joy, peace, justice, mercy, love … *
Christmas looks different this year – more Amazon boxes, more gift certificates, more homemade gifts and fewer shopping bags, fewer parties, fewer gifts. Many are without jobs and face evictions. Many are struggling with illness and disease. The human suffering around the world is real. In the face of an anything-but-normal Christmas, it may be more difficult to see beyond what we do not have and the losses we have faced to see what we do have and the things for which we can be grateful. In the reality of Christmas 2020, our orientation can easily turn from one of abundance to one of scarcity.
In this anything-but-normal Christmas time, the words of scripture remind us that God’s gift of Jesus Christ was a gift of abundance, a gift of love intended to reorient the world. The gift of Emmanuel is a gift that reminds us that God is indeed with us, in the midst of our suffering and loss, to bring us gifts of hope, joy, peace, justice, mercy, and love.
May our awareness of the needs around us be combined with a sense of gratitude for God’s abundant love, given to us in Jesus Christ. As we encounter the familiar story of Christmas once again, may we be reoriented toward gratitude for all God’s gifts to us this year and for the gift of one small baby.
Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7 (Modern Eng. Version)
* Source: Portion of the Emmanuel Christmas Prayer, www.learnreligions.com