Christmas is coming . . . what do you have your heart set on receiving this year?
A shiny new something? Quality time with loved ones that’s somehow stress-free? Health and good fortune?
What if you had to choose between that gift you most want . . . and the gift of Jesus?
The women in today’s readings know what it is to long for good things. Yet they’re also unbelievable examples of radical trust and strength when it comes to worldly detachment (1 Samuel 1:24-28, Luke 1:46-56).
Hannah faithfully prayed and waited over ten years for her heart’s desire—a child. We feel both her ache of longing and unbounded joy when she speaks of her son, Samuel. Yet our hearts are stunned when she literally and joyfully gives him back to God, entrusting her most precious gift to His care for the rest of his life.
And then there’s young Mary of Nazareth. No doubt she shared the same desires any new mother might crave: affirmation and acceptance of the new life within, support from family and friends, and, most certainly, practical help like a hot meal and rest.
Instead, she faced the opposite: the punishment du jour for pregnancy outside of marriage was death by stoning, Joseph could very well leave her, and the best she’d likely get from her neighbors was a hot dish of disdain with a side of scorn.
Yet Mary trusted God’s abundance enough to give up every bit of worldly comfort and consolation.
She exercised detachment not only from her most treasured possessions and relationships, but from her life itself—and in return, received the most fulfilling joy, intimate love, and everlasting life. Generations later, we still unquestioningly call her blessed.
As this season of giving and getting gears up, it would do us good to take a deep dive into the desires of our hearts. Are we holding so tightly to our desires that we can’t fully open ourselves to what God is longing to give?
Maybe we, like Hannah and Mary, can work toward detachment with radical trust and confidence—knowing that God has only better gifts to give in return.
Ever heard of "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis? It's available for a free download here. It offers many beautiful perspectives on the interior life, detachment, and radical trust.
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife and mom 24/7 and an Army Reservist in her “spare” time. She’s a bibliophile, tea drinker, sleep lover, and avid admirer of Colorado’s great outdoors. When the writing bug hits, you can find out more about her here.