By Jeanne Davis of Kansas City, Missouri, USA

For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.  Ephesians 2:14–16

I’m thinking about Christmas and the giving we do. I think about the child who gave his lunch to Jesus for the seemingly impossible task of feeding everyone. Five or 5,000, it really doesn’t matter…he gave all he had.

Perhaps because one person shared everything, others joined in…like a spontaneous potluck. Maybe someone else had a snack stuffed away, and every few people in the crowd kept sharing what they brought and voilá! Five thousand people are fed.

Because one boy shared, with Christ’s blessing an enormous wave of generosity started! Everyone has to pass the food down the row to their neighbors. As they do, they can’t be sure there will be enough for them, but sure enough, more food passes to them. Everyone shares! And then everyone feels connected to the group—they become community. One new humanity in place of individuals looking out for themselves. It’s not what we share or how much we share, but that we offer. And so begins the generous wave of blessing.

I remember how I always gave my children money to put in the offering. It feels good to give; I knew this. My mom used to give me money to give. Giving is a blessing to the giver as much as to the receiver. It connects you to others. You become part of the community…of five or 5,000.

Prayer for Peace:

Generous God, we praise you for the gift of community. Inspire us to give to our true capacity and to bless where we can. We will be blessed to be a blessing. We will share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Forgiveness

Sit in silence for a few minutes releasing all thoughts. At the end of the silence, say a silent prayer of gratitude. Now, think of something you have not forgiven, perhaps an action by a family member or a member of your congregation.

As you hold that thought, breathe in deeply. With each breath, whisper “God, open my heart.” Do this “breath prayer” seven times, remembering that Jesus asks us to forgive “seventy times seven.” Throughout the day take time to practice the exercise, always asking, “God, open my heart.

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will prepare a generous offering to help share the peace of Christ.

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