Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-18
Reflection: There are strong resonances between the story of Samuel’s birth and that of John the
Baptiser. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, could have no children, but then, in answer to prayer hews born. Elizabeth, John’s mother, was also called “barren,” but in her old age gave birth to e son. Both John and Samuel were dedicated to God and both of them were marked by their dress and behavior (Samuel was a Nazirite whose hair was not cut and who never drank wine, and John dressed in skins and ate locusts and honey). And both of these men became forerunners for chosen servants of God – Samuel anointed David as King over Israel and John prepared people for the coming of Christ.
In both cases it was the faithful and humble devotion of the parents in humiliating circumstances that opened the door for God to work. We need to be careful not to make too strong connections between these stories and our own lives – what is descriptive of an ancient event is not always prescriptive for us. There is no question, though, that when we offer ourselves to God for God’s purposes, God always takes us at our word, and the results can be amazingly dramatic, even though our contribution may be very small or commonplace.
What part of your life may God be asking you to offer to God’s service? How can you make this offering? If you’re not sure you’re ready to do it yet, is there a way you can begin to prepare your heart so that at some time in the future you will be?
Prayer: God, it’s amazing and humbling how you use simple human beings, who are willing to offer
themselves to you, to accomplish your purposes. It’s also challenging, because I recognize that there are parts of my life – abilities, talents, resources, time – that you ask me to offer to you. This Advent season, may I learn to give myself to you more and more, even as you continue to give yourself to me. And may I learn, in whatever small way I can, to share in your transforming, saving work. Amen.