Our Hope and Expectation
Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2020
by The St. Jude’s Writers
Saturday, 26 December 2020
The Wondrous Gift
Hymn: O little town of Bethlehem (CPWI Hymnal #82)
Verse 3: How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming; but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.
Reflection: Christmas celebrations this year have been like none other. The protocols to prevent the spread of the corona virus have constrained us to remain physically apart. So there will be no hugs and thank you kisses for gifts exchanged; no spontaneous visits to friends and relatives; no parties and get-togethers and, no lusty caroling as our voices are now muffled behind muslin masks.
Yet, this year, we feel even more keenly, the true meaning of Christmas: the wondrous gift given to mankind, the gift of redemption from sin, through Jesus Christ! For this year, without the distractions of office parties and harried last-minute shopping, we are able to reflect on what the gift of Jesus Christ means to each and every one of us and we realize that though we may be fearful of the challenges facing us, we have hope. Our hope is in Christ who overcomes our fears.
Then, we find that God’s wondrous gift comes to us silently, unannounced and without fanfare, pomp or ceremony. It is not a gift found under a tree or in a box wrapped in brightly coloured paper. God’s gift is found in our hearts and, just as silently and without warning, Jesus will come again as He promised. We have no idea of the time or place, or what form His second coming will take. The question is: Will we be ready to receive Him? Why wouldn’t we be ready? Because God’s gift dwells in our hearts alongside our hopes and fears, the ‘busyness’ and noise of the world; our wants and desires that might lead us down the wrong paths; our feelings of anger and hurt, not to mention, our pride which, all together, hinder our ability to truly accept God’s gift. In the same way that we caution each other “to live each day as if it is your last” we should make ready our hearts and souls to receive Him at any time. We must quiet our fears and desires, our pain and pride, and make our hearts into a place where meek souls will receive Christ, the Son of God, who was born in a lowly manger, not a lofty mansion.
I am persuaded that if we allow ourselves at all times to be guided by the golden rule: love and treat everyone in the same way that we ourselves would wish to be treated, we cannot go wrong. Love is the answer, my friends. God loves us and sent His Son to take our human form, to suffer and die for us. That is a huge demonstration of love that we can scarcely fathom. But, if God’s “wondrous gift”, this “holy Child of Bethlehem”, the “dear Christ” will “cast out our sin and enter in” and “be born in us today”, He will be found in our hearts and we can do our own small part in spreading love and thereby, bring peace on earth.
Meditation: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Prayer: Loving Father, thank You for the wonderful Gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that we might follow His example and show love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, thereby showing to the world that we are faithful disciples of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
St. Jude’s Church
Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
26 December 2020