Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Friday, December 16, 2011

Unexpected Gifts

Christmas presents. Gifts bestowed and received. Maybe a surprise or two. You, the Gift surpassing all other gifts, bring us more than we might expect. Presents that did not make our list, something to wear on the inside of us such as truth, generosity, patience, reconciliation, and respect for one another. Each Christmas, another gift of growth. What will you gift us with this year? ~ Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name

Such a strange way to save the world...

Gifts bestowed and received...Presents that did not make our list, something to wear on the "inside" of us...

Chapter 6, What Do You Want?, begins with an unexpected gift in the midst of a tiring ordinary day and, even though Ann has spent much time recording gifts, she needed a loving presence to redirect her gaze from the ordinariness to help her see the extravagant gift a mere two steps away.
His whisper brushes the curl of my ear, "When I saw it, I knew you'd want it too."...he who made vows to a woman and chaser. No - he didn't actually make vows to that woman. But this is the woman I am becoming. That eucharisteo is making me - fulfilling thanks vows to God. I am starved and the feast makes me wild. Because really, who gets to touch the moon? Tonight, she's close. I might. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 104)
Racing across the field, camera in hand, Ann runs, laughing...drinking in all that is and she celebrates the realization that she IS STILL a child.
Who am I to see glory with unveiled face? Is that what the child seeks? Is that why I escape motherhood at the dinner hour, because I can't see the glory there, here, right in the moment? Still? And me slowing for the hunt, looking for even one thousand gifts, sanctuaries in moments, seeking the fullest life that births out of the darkest emptiness, all the miracle of eucharisteo. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 105)
I am wondering who helps me to notice graces and gifts I might otherwise miss.

As I wonder I believe that it may be the Grands, who step into life ready to discover and ready to be surprised.

A small child.  One of the most vulnerable and even insignificant members of our society, it is they who help me to notice.

How I wish we could not push that sense of wonder, of vulnerability from a child's heart by burdening him with the world's stuff.  Yet, there is hope for me, for all children, that we can grow up, regardless of how old and wise we might be, we can grow up and regain a sense of that wonder....within the smallest and most ordinary moments.

Ann too thinks how after all she has learned, how she is still learning...still growing...
Yes - maybe that woman-child. The one who lives her life in circles, discovering entering into, forgetting and losing, findin her way round again, living her life in layers - deeper, round further in. I know eucharisteo and the miracle. But I am not a woman who ever lives the full knowing. I am a wondering Israelite who sees the flame in the sky above, the pillar, the smoke from the mountain, the earth open up and give way, and still I forget. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 106)
Oh, does this confession easy my own seeking/forgetting heart! For I too know, and yet still I forget!!!

Once again a reminder that I can discover myself within the ancient stories of these living scriptures.
I empty of truth and need the refilling. I need come again every day - bend, clutch, and remember - for who can gather the manna but once, hoarding, and store away sustenance in the mind for all the living?(Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 106)
If I am like the ancient Israelites wandering.

If I depend upon others to help me to discover and feast upon the manna given.

Who do I walk beside?

How do I help them to discover and to feast?

For I am not called to journal my gifts and hoard them, I am called to celebrate my discoveries with others so that together we might feast.  That is why God came to live among us - Emmanuel.

Jesus came for me.

Still, he is not my gift to hoard.  I am called to announce his coming....the gift of his presence.

Lord, help me to discover those unexpected gifts, those gifts that have not made my list, those gifts that are like manna, gifts that are "you" within my day and then help me to share the gift of your presence among, within, and between all that is within this life. By your Spirit, help me to grow back to being like a child.  AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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