Sunday 21st December: 11am Sung Mass and Children’s Sunday School
What does it mean to give a gift? What’s actually going on when we give someone a present?
God calls us through the story of the Annunciation, which we hear on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, to think about how to give well and how to give lovingly.
In the gospel Mary is presented to us as an exemplar of good gift giving. The gift she freely gives to God is not just something she has made, or something she has put time into preparing. It is not a portion of her belongings, nor a part of what little wealth she will have had. She gives to God her very self, her whole being, for God to use as he needs. She will be the place in which the eternal Word, God existing before all time, will take flesh, and become human. But she’s not just giving her body. Mary is not a surrogate womb. In agreeing to bear God’s child, she agrees to cherish and nurture him, to love and care for him, even though that will lead her to the foot of the Cross, and see him scorned and mistreated and executed before her very eyes. She gives her whole being, her body, her emotions, her love, her affection, expecting nothing back, except the knowledge that she is doing God’s will.
That gives us something to model our gift giving on. Giving that is a sign of the gift of love. Yes, we give expensive things, and inexpensive things, things we’ve made, things we’ve bought. But the gift must always be a sign of love. A sacrificial sign that shows we want to give of ourselves and expect nothing in return.
Join us on the last Sunday morning of Advent at 11am as we ponder all these things, celebrate the Eucharist together, and prepare for the Christmas feast.