Read 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
I wonder how Samuel reacted when his mother turned up each year with yet another new robe? We read that Hannah made this little outfit herself, and I feel sure that she did so with great love and care. I can picture her praying for her son and thanking God for him as she sewed. When her son wore this robe, he would know that he was not simply clothed in linen. He was wrapped in love and prayer.
This gift would also keep Samuel’s mother close to him all year round. Hannah and Elkanah saw Samuel only once a year when they went up to offer the yearly sacrifice. Their present of the robe would serve as a constant reminder of their presence in his life.
We all have people in our lives whom we only see or hear from once a year, usually at Christmas. The gifts and the greetings we exchange at this time may be very similar to those that were offered last year. We may have begun to take them for granted. “Another Christmas—another pair of socks from Auntie Gladys!” we may think to ourselves. Do we take time to reflect on the love that these gifts symbolize and the ongoing presence they represent?
Like any child, Samuel would have needed new clothes each year. As he grew in size, he also grew in the prayerful love and gratitude to God with which his mother clothed him.
Ever-giving God, enlarge our hearts to receive the presence of love this Christmas. Amen. How will you wrap your gifts with love and prayer this Christmas?
Nicola Vidamour is a Methodist minister, London, England.
Excerpt from page 368 of The Upper Room Disciplines 2015: A Book of Daily Devotions. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.
The Upper Room Disciplines is an award-winning devotional book published annually by Upper Room Books. Fifty-three writers from diverse Christian and cultural backgrounds contribute to this yearlong guide of daily devotionals. They provide insightful reflections on scripture and offer suggestions for applying biblical truths to daily life.