Daily Reflection
December 22nd, 2006

Barbara Dilly

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd
Luke 1:46-56

This is the season of promises. Just what is a promise? A promise is a basis for expectation and central to our faith experience. Indeed, our relationship to God is based on promises -- God’s and ours. God’s promises are the basis for our expectations in this life and in the life to come. The promises of God’s people reflect our faith and our obedience to God. We do well, at this time, to reflect on the lives of some women who played a significant role in the fulfillment of God’s promises in our faith history. They help us see where we too can be agents of God’s promises in the world.

Hannah believed in God’s promises to her and she kept her promises to God. After many prayers for a child, the Lord gave her Samuel, whom she gave back to the Lord. In giving back Samuel, Hannah proclaimed the gift God had given her as part of the glorious heritage of the people of God. For her gift of humility in bearing the Christ Child according to God’s plan and not her own, Mary has been blessed by every generation. With her gift, she proclaimed the promises of God to grant mercy to the children of Israel forever. Both of these women focused the needs and circumstances of their personal lives on the promises of God for all people. Both of them rejoiced in a Lord and Savior that gives mercy and life to the lowly. Their stories and gifts give life and meaning to God’s promises to each of us. We will be filled with good things.

Our ability to see our own life stories in terms of God’s promises to all people, not in terms of our own personal agendas, is also a gift – the gift of faith that comes from God, and the gift of faith we share with each other. During this season of great expectations for gifts, our faith in God’s promises and our promises to God are the greatest gifts we can give to each other. When others see that we believe in God’s promises by showing humility, courage, compassion, love, and joy instead of arrogance, selfishness, conceit, hatred and greed, we are giving them a gift. As people who stand on the promises, living our lives in faith is also a gift to God. God kept a promise when Jesus was born. We keep a promise when we rejoice in that wondrous gift.

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