December 5: Acts 3:1-11
When I was a child, our family was a lot like other families with traditions that were built around the holidays. Every Christmas morning, my brother and I followed our own tradition by waking up between 5 and 6am and sneaking into the Living Room and, under cover of dim flashlights, we scouted out the gifts left by Santa under the Christmas Tree. After seeing the gifts, we agonized over waiting another couple hours to wake up my parents and hope they were as excited about Christmas as we were. Looking back, the gifts were great, but Christmas was always more than I could have hoped for: presents, breakfast, my grandparents coming to the house, and making memories with our new found treasures. Christmas was always more than what I hoped for and that tradition continues even now in my experience of Advent.
The beggar in Acts hoped for money, and he looked to the religious community to supply his financial needs. He sat at the gate to the Temple when he knew people would be coming in to pray. What a great setup: religious people heading to prayer time could hardly resist giving a few coins to a beggar sitting at the Temple's doorstep. When he met Peter and John, he was hoping for money, but Peter and John had another idea: giving the beggar more than he hoped for. After getting the man's full attention, they dashed his hopes of money, but quickly followed up with complete physical healing.
I think that is the way it is with God. We may hope for one thing, but we consistently get more than we could ever hope for. Sometimes we just have to recognize the gift of God by looking around at the life we have been blessed with. What are you hoping for this Advent Season? How has God given you more than you hoped for?
Lord God, thank you for all you have given me. Help me to see beyond my hopes to the blessings you give me. Amen.