Week beginning: 22nd December, 2013

By John Scriven | Bath

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given"

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

Christmas is a time of gifts. And we celebrate that we have been given the greatest gift of all – the gift of Jesus Christ and, through Him, the salvation of our souls.

Giving is part of God's economy. Benedictus, benedicat: being blessed, may we bless others. We who have been given so much should give freely, not expecting a return from what is given, not least from the recipient. The nature of giving is not reciprocity. But when we do give, God may bless us in other unconnected and quite unexpected ways.

The New York Times recently reported on CERN research which indicated that a slight change in the Higgs field could result in the universe (in the words of Prospero) melting into thin air, leaving not a rack behind. At Christians, we can look to a new heaven and a new earth. In the meantime, we should be ever thankful to God for the miracle of our existence, His gift of life to us. In the words of the Prayer Book, we can thank God for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life, but above all for God's inestimable love in our redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace and for the hope of glory.

Prayer point

This Christmas, may we remember what we have been given and freely give of ourselves. May our giving point others to the greatest giver of all, our Heavenly Father.