“Your life is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to God.”
I remember reading this little snippet years ago while on retreat. I remember thinking, if this is true, then what am I doing with the gift God has given me? What do I have to give back to the Him? The theme of this saying resonated with me then, and continues to impact me even today. I do believe my life, and all it contains, is God’s greatest gift to me. I also believe that in the end I will be called to give an accounting for this beautiful gift. So, what am I doing with it?
As we make the transition from a season of being thankful for our gifts and blessings, to reflecting on the coming of Christ, our minds seem to naturally gravitate toward counting our blessings. But thinking about what kind of steward we have been with those blessings doesn’t seem to come as naturally.
At the beginning of November I invited you to become more aware of the gifts in your life. It was an invitation to take time for counting how you have been blessed. This Sunday, heading into Advent, we move into the time when we can examine how we have been a blessing for others. We have four weeks to review our lives, identify how we have “been a blessing”, and what we have to give back to God, as a result. How have we used the gift of our life? What have we done to multiply this gift?
If you haven’t yet reflected on the gift of your life this November, you still have time! This is the perfect season to ponder the gifts and blessings contained in the life God has given you. It doesn’t have to be this long elaborate exercise, simply take a few minutes to reflect on the past year and make a list. Putting pen to paper, list all the people, events, circumstances, material blessings, etc., in your life. Include all the aspects of your life; faith, health, relationships, intellect, and finances. This exercise is super valuable for all of us as it encourages us to focus on the good and positive in our lives instead of our struggles. It also helps us to prepare our hearts for the work of Advent.
So now, we enter into Advent, that time of the liturgical year where we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. Not only can we ponder Christ’s coming as an infant, but also, His coming at the end of time, and His coming into our lives every day.
We have the opportunity to reflect on the Word becoming flesh, Christ’s coming as an infant. His birth, the first and most valuable gift, was also the birth of our Christian faith. What can we do to show our deep appreciation for the birth of our Lord? How can we share this gift with others?
Also, we have the opportunity to project forward to Christ’s coming at the end of time. We can examine our lives in light of the gifts and talents we have been given. Then, we can account for how we have shared them. What have we done with those gifts? Who have we blessed? If we were to stand before Christ tomorrow, what would He say?
Finally, but not least, Advent provides a fantastic opportunity to become more aware of Christ’s coming into our lives each and every day. What am I doing to open myself to God’s grace in my life on a daily basis? Do I recognize Him working in my life? If not, what is preventing me from fully experiencing Him? How can I become more aware of the grace of God in my life? What changes do I need to make?
My life, and all it contains, is God’s gift to me. What I do with it is my gift back to God. Advent is an excellent time to reflect on what we’ve done with the gifts Our Lord has given us and how we are using those gifts. In as much as we have blessed others, in as much as we have multiplied the gift of our life, is as much as we have to give back to Him, our creator; the one who gave us the gifts in the first place.