Wednesday, November 25, 2009

GIFTS & GIVERS: Taken for Granted

GIFTS AND GIVERS CAN BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. For instance, take my mom. I could always count on her to provide new packages of underwear every Christmas morning. There was one year that she forgot, and I remember almost going into shock. Now that she's gone to heaven, well, I have to buy my own!

We can get so used to the ways things are, that when they change we are left standing with our mouths wide-open in disbelief. I guess we don't miss things until they're no longer given. It becomes increasingly easier to take for granted that both giver and gift will always be around. And when that happens we move from gratefulness to grumpiness in a heart-beat.

My key sermon text for this coming first Sunday of Advent is taken from Isaiah 9:2,
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Light, now there is another thing I take for granted, until it;s longer available. Living here in the Redwood forest we loose our electricity numerous times throughout the winter months. The rains descend, the winds blow, the trees fall, the power goes out. That's the way it goes around here. But no matter how often it happens I never fail to flip the light switch up to turn the light on. I just take for granted that the light will go on, even if I know that the power is off.

The interesting thing is that after a day or so with no power, when it does come on we are sometimes saddened. The truth is living in the dark has its benefits; no TV, more time with the family huddled around a candle, earlier to bed, all benefits we do not avail ourselves of when the power is on.

Yet, truth be known, I enjoy living in the light. It has great benefits, not least of all safety and security. When God spoke through the prophet Isaiah He was declaring to the people of Israel that light was coming. He spoke to a people who had been living in darkness (being away from God) for so long that they were taking the darkness for granted. Sadly in fact, when the light came they were not even able to recognize it, as the Gospel writer John wrote,
The true light the gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world could not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, tho those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God. (John 1:9-12)
This Advent season my prayer is that I will not take the Giver and the Gift for granted. That I will not be so comfortable in the dark that I would refuse to turn on the light. That I would desire the light, welcome the light, and live in the light. This is my Christmas prayer.

I pray it for you, as well.

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