21 December 2012

The gift of gifts

Despite all good intentions, sometimes it is hard to hold onto what it is that we celebrate at Christmas time.  I was going to post this beautiful prayer for Christmas Day but as I read it over again and prayed it for myself last night and again today, it occurred to me that it's probably of more use to share it now, in these last days before Christmas.  If you are finding it difficult, for whatever reason - and there are many - to pause before the manger just now, then I hope this prayer will help you to get your heart back in the Right Place, as it has done for me.

O Source of all good,
What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
  thine own dear Son, begotten not created,
  my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
  his self-emptying incomprehensible,
  his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
  he came below to raise me above,
  was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love:
  when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace,
  to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
  when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
  he united them in indissoluble unity,
  the uncreated and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
  when I was undone,
  with no will to return to him,
  and no intellect to devise recovery,
  he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
  as man to die to my death,
  to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
  to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
  and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
  and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
  my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
  my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
  to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
  and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the newborn child to my heart,
  embrace him with undying faith,
  exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
  that heaven can give no more.


(From  The Valley of Vision page 28- a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions edited by Arthur Bennett.)

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