What remarkable gifts were brought to the Infant Christ! A room and a roof are provided by the inkeeper (almost certainly not a stable, just an ordinary room); worship came from the shepherds (the worship of those who have been rejected carries deep beauty); welcome and acceptance flow from Joseph (who must have known that his life would be shrouded in gossip and innuendo as a result); gold, frankincense and myrrh are received from the Magi (mysterious gifts from mysterious men for the toddler Jesus); words of recognition and prophecy from Anna and Simeon.
What did Mary give? She offered the hardest thing of all. She gave herself. She offered her womb as a place of safety, her body as the resting place of the Son. She gave her future. She made space for God’s Word, for His promise to grow. She yielded her will to God’s will. Beyond what she could ‘do’ was the profound gift of who she was.
And us? What will we give Him this Advent? Beyond our doing, God desires our being. He asks us to give Him our inner and outer lives; He asks for the gift of our selves. He asks us for space to receive His grace, His Word.
What can I give him, poor as I am? …What I have I give Him, Lord, I give my heart.
What will you give God as the Christian begins? Will you give God more activity, or will you give God space? The former is easier, the latter is the hardest thing of all.
(C) Malcolm J. Duncan (Advent 2019)