Reading 1 1 Sm 1:24-28
In those days, Hannah brought Samuel with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh. After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull, Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said: "Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD." She left Samuel there.
“I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;”
Hannah amazes me with her generous and grateful heart. She not only brings the appropriate and required gifts of the Jewish faith to the temple, but she gives God what he gave her. Her love for God surpasses her own motherly desire to raise her son to adulthood. She wants to give back to God all that she treasures. What a gift!
I remember many years ago, receiving a gift that was wrapped beautifully. I carefully peeled back the tape only to find another paper beneath it. So, again, I took off the paper and again there was another layer of paper. This continued for a while until my perseverance paid off and I finally reached the box. Inside was a gift of faith, a necklace fashioning a cross.
As we open gifts and share time with our loved ones this Christmas season, let us think about the innermost recesses of our love for God, one layer at a time. The wrappings of our love could be reflected in this gift so carefully wrapped. How many layers do we have in our hearts revealing love for God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? The further we look into the layers of love, the more clearly, we will see the sacrifices we make to resemble the cross. These layers of love are designed to help us persevere until we reach our final cross. The Father has given us a gift of the babe in the manger bearing our sins to his death on the Cross. Can we give our sacrifices back to God as Hannah gave her son to God?
The gift I received many years ago was a gift representing my faith in Jesus Christ. When I wear this precious gift, I am reminded of my Lord and give thanks to God for our sacred gift. May we accept this gift of Jesus this Christmas and rejoice in our crosses.