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Christmas Blog 2011- Julie Anne Hilton

“What Can I Give Him?”

An old Christmas song that has resounded with new meaning for me this year....

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds made moan.

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.

Snow had fallen snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;

But His mother only, in her maiden's bliss,

Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

Oh what can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a Shepherd, would I bring a lamb?

If I were a Wise Man, would I do my part?

Yet what can I give Him?  Give my heart.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds made moan.

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone,

If I were a Wise Man, would I do my part?

Yet what can I give Him? Give my heart.”

Sometimes I feel like my heart is stuck in the bleak midwinter.  Bleak- that's a good word to describe the times when we feel far away from God, when our own struggles and the struggles of those we love, seem to overwhelm us.  We don't want to push God away, but also don't know how to invite Him close.  There might be many reasons why we feel far away from God.  Have you struggled with health problems, lost someone you love, been through a separation, divorce or break up?  Have you felt down, struggled with anxiety and worry, wrestled with temptation or just wished that your life circumstances were different?  As life moves along, I've realized that there is a lot of difficulty and pain in life, and there are many times when I feel like the outlook is bleak.  As I write this, I am exhausted and feeling trapped with worry over my daughter's health problems (so these messages are a challenge to myself, as well as to any of you who are reading it!).  Yet in all of this, in the cramped, messy, broken and sometimes cold stable of our hearts, Jesus wants to be born anew.

What can I give Him?  Give my heart?  Maybe my heart isn't the most welcoming place right now- it seems to be full of frustration, sadness, stress, loss, hopelessness, busy-ness, exhaustion and apathy.  I'm sure that Mary felt completely overwhelmed by her life circumstances, and yet here she is at the centre of God's entry into our world!  I'm sure the wise men were frustrated at how long and hard their journey was, but they kept going and kept searching for His presence.  The shepherds came to seek, despite much fear and trembling, and I'm sure they had a hard time trusting what the angels told them.  If I truly want to give Him my heart then I have to do it even when I can't see Him, even when I can't feel His presence.  I need to keep seeking Him despite my own doubt and despair.  Maybe I can allow the Holy Spirit to be the star, guiding me to Him and helping me to trust, no matter how hard the journey is.

How can we give Him our hearts?  This Christmas, let's ask our God to find new ways to come into our hearts.  Let's let Him transform our holidays into a time of grace.  We can come to the stable seeking Him, asking His forgiveness for our failings and seeking the light of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Are we ready to receive the gifts He has for us- His peace, hope and endurance for our journey, and ultimately the eternal joy of heaven?  Let us seek Him and ask Him to be here with us, no matter what state our hearts are in.

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