The beginning of giving

No, I’m not against giving to the needy. But I struggle with my own motivations for giving at Christmas.

I know I’m selfish right to the core. I know that selfishness strips me of wealth in the end, till I am wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I know the only way out is to open my hands, to release even the little I am hoarding because I feel it is barely enough for me. Because held too close, gold turns to ashes and fine clothes to rags.

And sometimes Christmas is the thing that pries a few fingers open and lets in some light.

And sometimes Boxing Day is only the return to clenched fists for another year.

Why am I willing to give away Christmas cookies but not make my life bread for others year round? I don’t want to be a hypocrite.

I want to grasp the nature of a servant, the humility of the Incarnation.

I need to remember that I have been the one to say “no room,” to say “no womb,” to God.

But still he comes to closed doors, closed hearts, closed hands and offers himself.

I must be like Mary. How can this be? I do not have the capacity to give. But my yes to this mystery makes a space within, a space for a seed that will grow into a harvest that will become bread to be broken and given away.

So I say, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” Christmas is only the beginning, and who knows how this life within will stretch and overtake me.

“Be it unto me according to Thy Word.”


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