1 Corinthians 1:4-7 – I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way — with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge — God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. (NIV)
Paul begins his first letter to the Corinthians with words of thanksgiving — thanksgiving for the people of Corinth and for all the spiritual gifts that God has given to them.
Paul's words remind me of a very special gift that my husband and I received and were also able to share at Christmas of 2000. It was at Christmastime that we found out that our daughter Claire was on her way. Claire was to be the first grandchild for both families, and we were so excited to share this gift with everyone.
This was a particularly special gift, not only because we were able to share it with our families, but because I had been pregnant earlier that year and had miscarried. This new life was such a treasured and precious gift because of what we had lost. And yet, we had been given so much more. Through our experiences, God had also gifted us with compassion, shown through the love and support of friends and family; patience, as we struggled to understand why our first baby did not survive; and a stronger faith, as we learned more about God's plan for our family.
Our first baby, the one we had lost, had been due to be born around December 28th. Instead of feeling full of sadness and loss through Christmastime, we were full of thanksgiving: thanksgiving for the gift of a new child on her way and thanksgiving for the many spiritual gifts God had given to us to equip us for our journey through parenthood.
God gives us so many spiritual gifts, not only for ourselves, but also to share with others. When we see others struggling through difficult times, let us give thanks to God for our spiritual gifts and walk alongside those who need to feel the strength of God's love in their lives.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, as we prepare ourselves for Christmas, we thank You for the many gifts that You give us: gifts of compassion, patience, faith, and love. Help us to take the gifts that You give us and share them with those who need them most. Most of all, we thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.