Kathleen Giffin


Fourth Sunday in Advent – December 21, 2014
2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8-12, 14, 16 | Psalm 89 | Romans 16.25-27 | Luke 1.26-38
December 15, 2014

Last night I watched Madi, my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, help set the table. She clutched her little handful of forks, and walked around the table carefully reaching up to place one beside each plate.

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever. – Psalm 89.1

'I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever.'

Psalm 89.1

Of course, we didn't need her to help, but giving her the job is a step on the way to more responsibility, and it makes her feel as though she is important in the family, that she can contribute and do her share.

It was lovely to watch, this meticulous and careful fork placement, and it got me thinking about my role in God's work. Just as Madi can't grasp the full breadth of what is involved in making the meal I had cooked, so I am also not aware of all the ways God is at work in accomplishing the good in which I am so graciously given a role as helper.

I, too, am being prepared for greater responsibility. I, too, am given the great blessing of feeling as though what I do matters, that I am a part of the big family of God, with a role in it that has value.

On this last Sunday of Advent, the Scripture readings are focused on the coming of the Saviour, and the role that David and Mary played in the fulfillment of hope.

But there is an interesting contrast in the two stories. David has decided he wants to build a fitting home for the ark of God. He asks for discernment from Nathan, the prophet. While Nathan's first response is yes, he returns the next day with a word from God.

David is told God has a much bigger plan that he will accomplish through David, "Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me."

Mary, on the other hand, has no plans to do great things to please and honour God. But when the angel tells her she is to conceive the Son of the Most High, her response is simple: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."


Her surrender of self is the model for every follower of Christ.

We are always right to fully surrender to God, to make room for God to use us as he wills for whatever is his good purpose. But sometimes, as David learned, we can have some good ideas about what God might want, or what should be happening, and we can be wrong.

David did not resort to arguments of how right he had felt about his plan, or why it made sense to build, instead he trusted the words of the one God had appointed to be God's voice to David. He gave his obedience of faith.

God's ways are not my ways; they are beyond my understanding. My obedience of faith requires me to trust as I surrender my will and do the small tasks I am given to do.

(Kathleen Giffin kgif@telus.net)