Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘gift’

Cornucopia of Blessings

Here we are at the threshold of Thanksgiving 2012.

This year I can honestly say has been a cornucopia of reasons to be thankful.

For the few years of my teaching carreer I not only taught all of the academic subjects I was also the art teacher. Well in reality it was more like time for creating and assembling craft projects. At Thanksgiving we would usually create our Cornucopia of colorful fruits and vegetables. This ‘horn of plenty’ was to appear to be too small to hold the abundane of fruits and vegetables. They were always pictured as spilling out of the horn onto the table top.

So many things can be learned from this simple cornucopia. The fruits and vegetables overlap one on top of the other…sometimes one blessing can partially obsecure another one. At times we are so preoccupied with what is easily seen when there is another blessing just out of sight.

Today if I were to be taken back in time to my former third grade classroom I would have them cut out the colorful fruit but I would also have them write on each piece something they were thankful for.

The cornucopia symbolizies aboundance. As I look back on this year I know I have been abundantly blessed. I know I have many things to be thankful for. I also know that some of those blessings in my life have been like the sour lemon. I know that some of my blessings have been like a pineapple…prickly on the outside but juicy and sweet on the inside.

A cornucopia gives the feeling that there is no end to what can pour out of the opening. You can not see inside as it tapers to a point. Which makes me think about the blessings I have received that could easily been overlooked…to tiny…too insignificant…not important…but blessings none the less.

This horn of plenty has became a staple for Thanksgiving decorations.

In Greek mythology, Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return Zeus gave Amalthea the goat’s horn. It had the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. The Cornucopia came to symbolize the unasked profusion of gifts from the gods.This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia we believe today.

Well that does make for a nice story, but if you are thankful and express your gratitude to others you will be spreading abundant goodness out to others. If you express gratitude when it is unexpected by the other person it will be your gift to them.

The fruits and vegetables are crowded together in this horn of plenty yet they each retain their true form and properties…just as for the many blessings in our life remain unique for us.

The many blessings I have experienced this year in my life have been just like a cornucopia…all shapes sizes, different textures, some more obvious than others. 2012 has been a year filled with more blessings than I could have imagined and some I have yet to discover in the weeks ahead.

Many of you who are faithful readers of this blog are among the many blessings I have experienced this year.

Please know that I treasure the many gifts that pour forth from the cornucopia of my life.

The horn of plenty makes its own music for the heart…a symphony of thankfulness.

May you experience abundant blessings each day of your life.

Manna from Heaven

For years I taught first grade. December was the happiest time of the school year. We would make Gingerbread men, sing holiday songs, read stories about Santa and how other people celebrated Christmas.

I remember the ‘Reindeer Food’ that my excited six-year olds carried home before the Christmas break. A snack baggie for each child filled with regular oatmeal and just a sprinkle of glitter; that made it a little magical.

The directions were to scatter the ‘reindeer food’ over the lawn on Christmas Eve before going to bed. This food was meant to help sustain the hungry flying reindeer for their long Christmas Eve deliveries.

After all Santa gets milk and cookies.

It may be a little strange but, in the book of Exodus God mysteriously provided manna each morning for the Israelites while on their long journey with Moses. If it was not collected right away each morning it melted. The Sabbath was the only day they had no manna so they were allowed to collect enough the day before to eat the next day.

While these two events are not connected I began reflecting about how Jesus is our ‘hidden’ Manna. Jesus the true hidden Manna…Hidden under his humanness.

Jesus contains the hidden manna of salvation for all of mankind. Hidden within him was everything we needed for our own journey to holiness.

Hidden within this tiny baby was the manna offered to save us. The birth of Jesus was the visible manna of love. Love from God the Father…Love from his mother Mary…Love from his earthly father, Joseph.

We too have this manna hidden within our heart. It is this manna of love that we sometimes discover has become hidden within our own hearts. Situations in life can result in love becoming hidden within our soul. Sometimes we even intentionally bury this love as a defense mechanism. Sometimes it gets so shrouded that we can no longer grasp it’s beauty.

Christmas is a time to create a heart transparent so as to see more clearly any hidden manna of love lost in the crevices of our hearts. It is up to you to look to the Lord for new sight.

Christmas is the ultimate gift of love. Who can honestly say that when gazing on a tiny newborn anything but love swells up within your being?

Christmas is a reminder each year of new life and the hope of new beginnings. Believe in your heart that God desires to bring about new life in you. Believe that God wants to do wondrous things through you. You too contain ‘hidden manna’.

 

Manna has become the symbol for the divine goodness of spiritual food, and hence of the Eucharist. (Jn. 6:31-35. 49) “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn. 6:51)

Christmas is needed as a yearly reminder that Jesus is always with us and will be until the end of time.This ‘hidden manna’ will make all things new. Allow Jesus to come into your heart in a new way. This year don’t take Christmas for granted look for the ‘hidden manna’. Ask God to show you that which is ‘hidden manna’ for you. What is it that would satisfy your heart’s desire to grow deeper in love with the Lord?

Let this Advent captivate your heart. Draw near and experience the taste of this ‘Manna from Heaven’ every time you receive Eucharist. Manna from Heaven given to us as food for the journey…living bread.

Of course I do not believe in flying reindeer and we are not on a quest across the desert with Moses, but I do believe in the manna from heaven given to us because of LOVE.

May your Advent be filled with LOVE!