December 26

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

“Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.” vs. 26

In the early days of Israel, before there was even a king, the priesthood under Eli was enormously corrupt. According the ancient stories the priests, led by Eli’s sons, regularly profaned the sacrificial offerings. But at the height of the corruption a woman named Hannah had brought her only son, the one for whom she’d prayed with all her heart, and left him with Eli at Shiloh as a thank-offering to God. She then returned each year with a new little robe for her child…it’s a beautiful story of a mother’s sacrificial love. That little boy, Samuel, grew to maturity and became the first of the long line of prophets who were the salvation of Israel. It’s very likely Luke was thinking of him when, in describing the childhood of Jesus, he wrote, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.” It’s a reminder that the manifestation of God’s love in our world often begins with the birth of a child. We see those children in our worship services. They’re brought in the arms of loving parents and dedicated to the Lord’s work…and they grow up so quickly. Nurtured by love, touched by the Spirit, before our eyes they become adults…and more than that, it’s in them that we see hope for humanity. And all of us are blessed by their presence.

Thought for the Day: Children I know who bring hope to my heart.

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