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Receiving and Sharing Gifts

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Sunday 21st December 2014  7.30am St Andrew’s

by Rev Geoffrey Foley


Receiving and Sharing Gifts

Luke 1:26-38, Romans 16:25-27, 2Samuel 7:1-11, 16

On Christmas morning there will probably be a number of people who are disappointed in the gifts they receive – the gifts may be beautiful, expensive, useful or whatever, but the recipient does not feel the gift is appropriate.

In the Old Testament reading today, David has a guilty conscience.  David felt uncomfortable about living in a palace while God lived in a Tent.

But God is unwilling. He points that a gift must be the fruit of a right relationship, not a substitute.

The Gospel reading illustrates these principles. God takes the initiative in choosing Mary to be the mother of the Messiah.  The blessings promised to David are to be fulfilled in Jesus

Mary graciously accepts the Lord’s command to be the mother of his Son.

In our mission to preach the gospel to all mankind, we bear gifts of religious beliefs, practices, values and understanding to those whom we wish to bring to God. But like David we may be tempted to insist on giving our gifts. Like Mary, we must realise that it is God’s gifts that we first receive and then share with others.

May we find the joy that Mary did, as she accepted the gift of service.  May the love shown at this holy season be true and deep, so others may feel called to join with us in the service of God as we receive and share his gifts.



2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16  NRSV         

7 1 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” 3Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

4But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. 7Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”

8Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.

16Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

Romans 16: 25-27

1625 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.


Luke 1:26-38 NRSV

126In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.