Hannah only saw Samuel once a year after she dedicated him to the service of God as a young boy. This was the child she prayed and prayed for and waited and waited for all those long years. Can you imagine only seeing your child once a year since early childhood?
Each year Hannah would make Samuel a new robe to wear as he served in the temple. As young children grow, this was a necessary thing to do – much like getting new school clothes each year. But for Hannah this was not a quick trip to the mall to purchase a new robe. She handmade the new robe, one stitch at a time. Each piece was carefully cut and sewn together. Maybe she even made the linen itself. From what we know of Hannah, she probably prayed for Samuel with each and every stitch. So when Samuel received the robe each year, it came soaked in love and prayer.
A group of ladies at our church has a prayer shawl ministry. They gather once a month, usually at Betty’s house, and they make shawls. They pray as they create these beautiful shawls. Each one is bathed in prayer and love. After dedicating the shawls, members of the church can take them to people they know who are ill or struggling with something. They are amazing gifts to those in need of prayer and God’s love.
As we ponder these gifts made in love and covered in prayer, we must ask ourselves how we can give such a gift to another. Maybe a gift can be bought in love and bathed in prayer instead. Or maybe we receive such a gift from another. If so, what then is our grateful and thankful response? Perhaps for some, the gift needed is our time and presence and through prayer God reveals who needs this gift this year. Maybe the Holy Spirit whispers or nudges us too. May this love and grace fill our gifts and our presence this Advent season.
Scripture reference: 1 Samuel 2: 18-20 and 26