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From The Chaplain's Desk
From the Chaplain's Desk - Godís Greatest Gifts

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  DECEMBER 5, 2018 --

Set your heart on the higher gifts, on the things that come from your Maker in heaven. These three gifts are all that remain: -- Faith, hope and love, and the greatest is love.  (Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:13)

Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love Divine,

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,

Love Incarnate, Love Divine,

Worship we our Jesus,

But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,

Love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.

(Christina Rossetti)

Sometimes I find it difficult to improve on either scripture or poetry.  This is one of those times.  The word “love” in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is a translation of the Greek word _agape_, the love that is unselfish and freely given, with no demand of anything in return.  This is the love that God gives us, the love that is part of the essence of God, the love epitomized in the incarnation of Jesus, wholly God and wholly man, Immanuel, God with us. 

In saying that God does not demand anything in return for God’s love, it does not mean that God does not desire anything in return.  Even among us humans when we present a gift to someone we are greatly pleased when we get something in return, even if we don’t demand something in return.  A hug from a grateful grandchild or even a “thank-you” is often enough.  Similarly there is no way we could ever repay God for the gifts he has given us in any form that would even come close in value to that which we have received by his hand.  

So, what should we give God in grateful thanks for the love he has given us?  

What then can I give him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

What then can I give him, I will give my heart.

(Christina Rossetti)


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