‘Daddy, I’m the gift that keeps on giving.’ Words that my daughter, Becky, has been using for most of her life to justify the lack of presents on my birthday which takes place ‘sometime’ this month. Becky was born on my birthday twenty-one years ago. I had planned to spend that day taking an exam on St. John’s Gospel. I was all ready to ‘ace’ the exam, instead I spent the afternoon holding Charlotte’s hand as she had an emergency caesarean section and Becky was born at 5pm. After leaving them both at the hospital, in those pre-paternity leave days, I was told by my theological college principal that there was no need for me to get up for prayers at 7am, he would see me for breakfast at 8! To be honest Becky has been a gift that keeps on giving. It is wonderful being her father; we are blessed being her parents, and in recent years she has even started buying me the odd gift on my birthdays. Like all parents I can get a little bit carried away talking
about my daughter and how lucky we are. But not everyone has
children, and not everyone has a good relationship with them. As a
child my experiences of family life were very different to Becky’s:
that, as they say, is life. But I believe that each of us has so much to be grateful for in our lives. Some of us can count our blessings very easily. Others have to search more deeply, but all of us have something that makes our lives special. January can be a dark miserable month. The joys of Christmas can seem to fade away very quickly, but on the first Sunday of this January , in church, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. It’s the
time when we remember the wise men who visited Mary, Joseph and
Jesus bringing gifts for the child. In many countries this is the day
when children received their presents, not Christmas. As we think
about the gifts that these travellers from the East brought for the baby
Jesus we are asked to think about the gifts that we have been given in
our lives. Many of these are gifts and talents which are part of us, but many are gifts given to us by others. I’m not really thinking about presents,
though these are nice, but the blessings that we share with each other.
Blessings that show how much we love others, blessings that show
how much others love us. In the beginning of what looks like an uncertain year for our country let’s give thanks for the blessings in our lives and let’s try to be a blessing to others. In the darkness of this month let’s spread some light. Have a very happy and blessed New Year.