Giving thanks

stanleyPENNY MULVEY

Stanley and his goat present a captivating front page. His infectious happiness somehow invites us to share his pleasure. The snowy-white bundle he clutches to his chest was purchased by his mother Jesina, a conservation farmer assisted by Act for Peace partner Christian Care.

Before joining the program, Stanley’s family did not have enough to eat and he and his siblings were unable to attend school. Jesina and Stanley’s story can be found here.

Stanley’s goat is more than just a pet, she is a living symbol of a better life for six children and their parents.

How often do we feel the joy and thanksgiving that are evident in Stanley’s face?

For many, Christmas has become a time of peak stress. Hymns of joy, celebration, jubilation – magnificent words telling of the birth of the Prince of Peace – are being replaced by jingles about Santa, consumption and gift-giving.

We cannot change the focus on mass consumption, but we can try to manage our own responses. In her column the moderator reflects on Advent as a time for slowing down so we can open our lives up to God’s presence.

“Then we, like Mary, can say ‘Yes’ to God, to God’s presence with us and in us and ‘Yes’ to giving our lives to God’s way and God’s reign,” Rev Sharon Hollis encourages us.

Six-year-old Stanley is like our own children and grandchildren – unencumbered by the burdens that adulthood brings. They renew in us a sense of gratitude in the little things. The budding rose, the ducklings darting across the surface of the pond, the smell of rain-sodden earth, the stranger’s smile.

The poetic words of David in the Old Testament book, 1 Chronicles 16, call us to express our thanks to God in all things, despite our circumstances.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!(v31-33)

Stanley felt that jubilance over the goat that was in his field. We too are called to be thankful for God’s goodness, for “God’s love endures forever.” (v34)

May you find time to slow down this Advent, to be conscious of God’s reign that is always unfolding, and to rejoice in the gift of God’s Son.

We at Crosslight wish you a joyous Christmas. We thank you for your commitment to Crosslight and look forward to telling your stories in 2017.

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