Daily Reflection
December 22nd, 2000
Daniel Patrick O'Reilly
Registrar's Office
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First Samuel 1:24-28
First Samuel 2:1, 4-8
Luke 1:46-56

Today's scriptures are full of beautiful imagery and tell wonderful stories.  And recently I've had some things in my life that made these stories strike home.

In Samuel, Hannah presents Samuel, the son she has prayed so hard for, to God's priest Eli.  Hannah then sings praises to God and rejoices in all the miraculous things that God has done.  And in Luke, Mary, likewise, glorifies the Lord and rejoices in his miracles.

After two years of marriage, my wife and I decided it was time to start a family.  After several months of trying, we had no results.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table, my wife taking my hand, gazing into my eyes and saying, "there's something wrong with you."  This was my first and only struggle with infertility.  Little did I know that I would become the father of seven boys.  In ways, I sometimes feel guilt at how richly God has blessed me.  We have friends who struggle with infertility.  A couple in my church related their struggle recently.  They had tried for years and had settled into the idea that they would not have children.  They were both professionals, in love with each other and liked to travel.  This would be fine.  Then one day, while doing laundry, God told the wife that she would have a son and his name would be Matthew.  When first told this story, I stifled a laugh.  I've received nudges from the Holy Spirit, but if I heard a voice I'd be calling a therapist.  But the wife was quite insistent.  Well, guess what.  At a recent Thanksgiving service, Matthew was presented to the congregation and praise given to God for his miracles.

Recently, it seems that I've had a hard time getting into the spirit of Christmas.  This advent season I've been a little overwhelmed by cynicism and the commercialism that the world dishes out.  I've been concerned about not having time to shop for that perfect gift and it's been eating at me.  Well, yesterday afternoon, I found the cure for my ills.  The childrens' Christmas program at church.  Kids seem to have a knack for taking the complex and making it simple.  Beautiful, shining faces singing "joy to the world, the Lord is come."  No wonder Christ loved children.  The theme of the program was to recognize what the true focus of Christmas should be and to expect miracles.  So often we get caught up in the wrong things at Christmas and forget the simple and incredible miracle of the birth of Christ.  This advent season my prayer is that I would keep my focus on Christ.  Christmas is just around the corner.  Expect a miracle!  

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