December 18, 2016
Psalm 24 · Ephesians 6:10-20
Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
One of my all time favorites gifts is the ring that Jon gave me when he asked me to marry him. It is a simple gold band, but perfectly suits me. We are all familiar with giving and receiving gifts. Granted some of us are better than others at gift giving. Some of the gifts we give are material: a bike, a meal, or a Christmas sweater. Often the best gifts are ones that require something more from the giver, like the gift of time, presence, or comfort.
God is good at giving gifts. In a similar category to the people you hope pick your name for a Christmas gift exchange. Our gospel reading for today reminds us of this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” The gift of God’s Son is a gift that demonstrates God’s radical love towards us. This gift is God’s ultimate move towards us. Oftentimes, we think of ourselves as the ones who are moving toward God, but the reality is that God has made the decisive move towards us. The divine Son wrapped himself in the smallness of a baby and lived in our broken world so that we might be united to God.
How do we receive this kind of gift? What is our response to this act of love towards us? We receive the light and life offered in and through Jesus. We receive the wholeness and salvation that has come not to condemn us but to receive us. We receive, as the prophet Isaiah tells us, the one in whom God delights and who Spirit of God is upon.
- Janna Mahoney Ziegler
God, would you grant me the eyes to see the gift you have given to me in love? Would you give me the ability to receive your Son?