I had planned my day carefully so that we could be ready in time. We were going to go as a family to a nearby "Presence for Christmas" event with Eucharistic adoration, speakers, and time for prayer as a family. I had been to one before and it was so beautiful and powerful. I was looking forward to going again.
But the evening found me and the toddler dressed up with nowhere to go. My husband had rushed in for a quick dinner with us and instead of going as a family, we decided for me and G to stay home because the snow was coming down thick and blinding, and warnings were all over about the slick roads. I'm extra cautious when pregnant because the smallest car accident can hurt such a fragile babe inside. I wanted my husband to stay home too but he had to be at the event for work.
So it was just me and G at home, and if I'm being honest, I was exhausted, bored, lonely, and frustrated. We made the best of it with early jammies and a movie, but after she went to bed, I sat on the couch and cried. It was silly, looking back, my little pity party. But it had been a long day at home and I had so wanted to go out for a nice prayer service and fellowship with others.
So I cried a little. And I prayed in the stillness with the light of the Christmas tree in the room. I prayed through my silly tears, telling Jesus that I had wanted to go to the elaborate event but that this prayer was all I could give-- at home in my pajamas, with a hungry tummy and a tired body and a grumpy mood. In the oddest way, it was sweet and healing and authentic. I was honest and vulnerable in my prayer. And I felt peace.
I couldn't help but think perhaps this was what the widow felt like when she gave her small coins in the offering (Mark 12:41-44). She gave from her heart and she gave all she had. She knew it wasn't much, but she gave it anyway.
By no means am I comparing my pitiful human weakness to true poverty...but perhaps we can all relate to feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, exhaustion, or loneliness. Perhaps we all know what it feels like to feel like you have nothing left-- physically, or even emotionally or mentally or spiritually. That what you have to give is not what you planned. The widow in the Gospel reading gives us hope that whatever we give can be more than enough. It can be exactly what God wants if it contains our very heart in total surrender.
Where in your life is God asking you to give? Prayer? Financially? Time for others? Fears or worries? Let's hold nothing back from Him this Advent but give from the deepest parts of ourselves, knowing that His loving hands will not only receive our gift, but will receive us in love and restore us to joy and peace.