Friday, December 7, 2012

A Mother's Sacrifice

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4

In The Bleak Mid-Winter by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and Earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a manger full of hay;
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only his mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him,
Give my heart.

The image of a young mother as the widow struck to my heart. I had always thought of an old woman with little life left and only herself to care for. To see a young mother, with her children clinging, reminds me of the true sacrifice and the depths of faith this woman truly had. We are invited by God today to live with that kind of faith. A faith that is willing to give our all, to love with such gratitude that no problem or challenge can undo us. As we journey through Advent, when all the stress and tasks pile up, may we count each of these as great gifts and many blessings and share with others generously the love we have received.

I ask God to help me be like the widow of old. Bent with worry and responsibility she let go all that she had to God. May we remember her example and let go to God all that we have, all that we are, and all the burdens we bear trusting God for the solutions we cannot now know. And may we be deeply grateful, and as the poet says, " yet what can I give Him, give my heart."

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