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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

21 December 2011: Jean Halliday, St Laurence Catholic Church

A time for receiving

There is a wonder at Christmas that no other time of year can capture: the images of the Nativity, the stable, the angels, the shepherds and the Magi. It is a time to be with family and friends. Then there are the more material things: the decorations, presents, food, and parties.

Giving should be with open arms and open heart and receiving should be the same. God gave us the greatest gift, Himself in the form of his Son, entering into our history, our world, so that we are able to get to know Him and learn from Him how we should live our lives.

God comes to us and we need to open our hearts to receive Him, just as Mary opened her heart, in total faith and trust. Each year we are given an opportunity to once more offer God that mighty 'Yes' with Mary, to say to Him, 'be it done unto me according to thy word'. (Luke chapter 1 verse 38)

But Christmas is not the end of that 'Yes', only the beginning, it is not the end of receiving but only the beginning. God knows how difficult it is to live like His son so he has given us His son's body and blood to strengthen our resolve, he gives us the community of the church to support us and the sacraments to direct us.

When we have unwrapped the last present, eaten the last piece of turkey and taken down the decorations, we continue to open our hearts to receive His gifts and each day we continue to say 'Yes', with Mary as our model.

"Mary's entire life is a 'Yes' to God, Spoken with all her heart." (extract from: 'Life, to me, is Christ'. Robert de Pas, C.J.M.)

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