December 12th – Reckless Giving

This is from a story by Frank O’Connor which I have always found most moving on the subject of Christian giving. It’s called “An Only Child”.
“One Christmas Santa Claus brought me a toy engine. I took it with me to the convent and played with it while my mother and the old nuns discussed old times. But it was a young nun that brought us to see the crib. When I saw the Holy Child in the manger I was very distressed because, little as I had, he had nothing at all. For me it was fresh proof of the incompetence of Santa Claus. I asked the young nun politely if the Holy Child didn’t like toys, and she replied composed enough, “Oh he does, but his mother is too poor to afford them”. That settled it. My mother was poor too, but at Christmas she at least managed to buy me something, even it was only a box of crayons. I distinctly remember getting into the crib and putting the engine between his outstretched arms. I probably showed him how to wind it up as well, because a small baby like that would not be clever enough to know. I remember, too, the tearful feeling of reckless generosity with which I left him there in the mighty darkness of the chapel, clutching my toy engine to his chest.”
That’s the end of the quotation, but a present strong reminder of a child’s sense of reckless generosity which Jesus understands well, even if we do not. Instead of a ‘Christmassy reading’ today, hear Paul’s doxology at the end of Romans Chapter 11 v. 33-36, when lost in a dilemma he could never solve. Let it lead us to reckless and loving wonder and worship and self-giving:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.
A Prayer: Thank you for your love, O God, which so loves as to give into our unfeeling hands the gift of Jesus, your only Son, our Lord.

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