Imagine that you are standing in front of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. The shape of the tree is perfect. The lights are placed just right. The ornaments are of various colors, but perfectly placed. Under the tree are 366 boxes ….some are smartly wrapped, some seem to have been wrapped by a five-year old. Some are so large it will take two people to move them. Then, there are boxes that are so small, they could be easily lost.
Well, as we begin this new year of 2012, the picture before you is what God is offering us. 366 days lie before us [remember, this is a Leap Year!] …. each day is a gift. Some days will be major [the big boxes], some will be quite ordinary [the small boxes]. Some gifts will seem to be rather rough [the not-so-nicely wrapped], while others will be full and glitzy [the neatly wrapped gifts].
There is one major rule — we cannot choose which gift to open each day. Someone [our good God] will hand us a new gift each day. We will be told to unwrap it and to use it. Just like at Christmas, we may wonder “just what is this gift that I have unwrapped”. Some gifts may require us to read the directions in order to use them. There may be some gifts that we would like to return …. but, for some reason, this gift has been given to us, and we are challenged to use it …. and not to waste it.
Hear again God’s prayer for us as we begin a new year …
The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!
As we invoke the name of God this weekend, we hear this prayer from our God for us. (Book of Numbers 6:22-27).
In Galatians 4:4-7 we call out to our God as “Abba, Father” … and just as every parent is questioned by their children as to why they are asking what they are asking or why they are doing what they are doing ……we are called to trust that our God is with us as we unwrap each gift …..even the “ditzy gifts” are there for some reason. Even the “bummer gifts” have some meaning for us on our journey.
Like Mary, Mother of God, we are called to “keep these things, reflecting on them in our hearts.” (Luke 2: 16-21). It can be said that an “unreflective life is a unlived life.” So much is happening around us every day, that if we do not stop and think, pray, and reflect, we miss so many opportunities. We may put a gift in the closet and not use it, simply because we were moving from one gift to another …..ever see a child open one gift after another without saying “thank you” or even realizing what they just had opened? I once saw a niece open a simple piece of jewelry and move to the next gift without realizing that there was a $100 bill under the jewelry.
Like Mary and Joseph who began their journey with Jesus in a simple manger, we now begin a new journey ….. 2011 has ended. There is no going back …. there are no do-overs. But, the good news is that we start anew and fresh …..there are 366 chances in front of us to live life well and to live it to the fullest.
Live well ….live faithfully …. live well.