Amma Sue - December 2013

posted 3 Jan 2014, 01:57 by Richard Jones   [ updated 3 Jan 2014, 01:57 ]

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year again – “Christmas time, mistletoe and wine!”  A time for giving and receiving and no doubt just like at the Vicarage there have been many leaflets and brochures landing on your door mat suggesting this and that present, or offering this and that bargain, or new item of furniture being promised for delivery by Christmas.  Sometimes all this buying and selling can seem to rob Christmas of all its fun and its deeper meaning.  It’s easy to lose sight of what Christmas really is Christ’s-Mass; the time when we can especially give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, Jesus himself. Of course the giving and receiving of gifts is not something that happens just once a year, and God doesn’t limit Godself to just once a year either.  Jesus’ incarnation, passion, death and resurrection are for all time, and every day of the year, a gift that continually calls us to respond with as much generosity and love, not just at Christmas but every day. 

As we come to choose the gifts for those we love we spend a lot of time pondering their likes and dislikes, their personalities and their interests, and although for some its easier to choose the right present than for others, even the difficult decisions are made easier by the fact that we know, see and have contact with those for whom we are choosing the gifts.  But what can we give to God?  For after all, although we can know God in the depths of our heart we cannot see God, we cannot ring God up and ask God what God wants for Christmas!

The words of Christina Rosetti’s poem, immortalised as the Carol “In the bleak midwinter” provides us with the answer: “What can I give him poor as I am?... what can I give him? Give him my heart.”  And yet even this can be reduced to nothing more than a pious thought, or romantic notion.  What does it mean to give God “my heart”?  We can do no better in answering that question than listening to the words of St. Theresa of Avila: “Christ has no hands but our hands.” Giving God your heart means giving God all that you are and will be, all that you have and might have, being in effect a “little Christ” to those around you.  It means using the gifts and talents that God has already given you in the service of God’s Church, and God’s people, and God’s creation, dedicating all of your life to God’s direction and purpose – not just those bits of your life when you’re feeling “religious.” 

So what gift are you going to give to God this Christmas? Giving your time and your talents in volunteering to undertake a job at Church or for a charity? Giving your money in supporting the poor and needy at home and abroad? Giving yourself in ministry as a Lay Reader, Pastoral Auxiliary, Deacon or Priest, Youth Leader, Sunday School Teacher etc.? Are you going to give God “your heart”? For God gave God’s heart to you.

A Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you all.

Amma. Sue