Advent Reflections

Giving or Sharing?

​Isaiah 25:6-9
​​Psalm 23
​​Matthew 15:29-39

Every year at this time, I write lists for Christmas cards and gifts. Most of those on my list, my family and friends, have everything they need and most of what they want. Deciding on the right gift takes creativity. On the other hand, there are many in our communities who need everything. The contrast between rich and poor troubles me and seems to have bothered St. Nicholas. He was a second century Bishop in Turkey who we celebrate every year on December sixth. Legend has it that Nicholas heard of three sisters whose family was too poor to provide dowries. Without them the girls could not marry, and prostitution might be the only role left for them. Nicholas left three sacks of gold on the family’s doorstep to ensure the girls could marry.

Christmas in Canada is all about exchanging gifts. How many of us even consider how it is that we have so much to give? Today’s reading from St. Matthew’s gospel tells the familiar story of Jesus feeding a great crowd with a few fish and a little bread. All in the crowd were fed as much as they wanted, and there were seven baskets full of left overs. It was God’s miracle that Jesus brought such abundance from so little.  By the grace of God, Canada has abundance in natural resources, good growing climates, and people who know how to use them.

God’s greatest gift to us was his Son who showed us by his life and death that we are to love each other and share our abundance with those in need. If we would do that, there would be enough for everyone with some to spare. I wonder if we could begin by stinting a little on Christmas gifts for those who have everything, and give all year round to those who have little.

The Rev. Arlene Young

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