The Gifting Match


January 2  

Our reading from Isaiah today calls upon us to rise up in splendor . . . your light has come . . . the glory of the Lord shines upon you . . . see, darkness covers the earth and thick clouds over the peoples . . . but upon you the Lord shines. . . . raise your eyes and look about . . . you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea will be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.

Christ has been shown to us—he has come, he will come, he comes. He is here as he has always been and will be again . . . He, the light, replaces and repulses the dark. I need only raise my eyes and look about. 

As a mother, these past many weeks have been filled with—life. Life is vibrant, moving, coming and going, loud and energized, filled with joy and filled with angst. There is always the push and the pull. Amid this, I navigate, negotiate, stumble, fall, rise again, attempt again, renew, re-strategize. I try.

And then, I ask: How Lord? How do I live and love in the truth that you are with me, have been and always will be with me? How do I hold on to the peace, wonder, and beauty of those times when you are so manifest to me, and I see and feel you clearly? I see the spiritual reality of life in your presence, and I know I can do anything, for you are with me. But it flees from me in the small, everyday moments. You want me to what? You are inviting me to a match? . . .  to receive the grace to play my part.

The Gifting match. But how do I enter into the arena? I am to gift the people in my life with myself, and thus, make you more present in my life, and in theirs. You have given me all the riches of the sea, your light leads the way, and when darkness tries to cloud my life, I get the wealth of all the nations joining my side. I win when I stay in the spiritual reality of your grace and love. I am my own teammate. I have many gifts and talents you have given me to bring to the board. I also know my weaknesses, places where I can fortify, improve. When called upon to take my turn, the Holy Spirit clears my mind and helps make the right plays.

You are asking me to lighten up? That is the strategy.  

Game on.

I get points to unload the dishwasher: easy enough. Make dinner? I guess I can do thatneeds to be cheery likesure I can. I have a challenge on the table: work on my to- do list with consistency and intentionality . . . got it. My mind drifts unwieldy for a moment . . . the dark side tries to advance a play. My thoughts will stay with you, Lord; I will myself towards your mercy. My words need to be gentle and encouraging. Points scored. I hold my silence to avoid the danger negative comments wish to wreak. More grace scored! I complete my examen: bonus round to end the day.

Thank you for inviting me to play the Gifting Match with you, Lord. With you as the star, I can never lose.


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