Old Made New

News | December 13, 2022

The theme of this year’s Advent devotion is: Do you see what I see? An array of St. Paul voices selected a photo or photos that hold very special memories to them, then sat down and reflected on what that photo means to them. What do they see and remember that others may not when looking at this photo? Through their words and stories, hopefully, you’ll see a little of what they see.

Growing up, hand-me-downs, handmade, and yard sale toys and clothes were the norm. I don’t remember my sister and I minding all that much; new was exciting, but so was looking through items and finding a treasure. Christmas, though, was a time for new; new toys, new books, and new clothing.

One Christmas memory that stands out is the year we were able to take a trip to my aunt and uncle’s farm in northern Iowa. I must have been eight or nine years old. Spending time at the farm was exciting and a place in which I always felt safe, loved, and valued. Presents were opened Christmas morning and the gift from my grandparents was an old Barbie carrying case containing clothes, just like in the photo. At first, I was disappointed. When I shared my disappointment, I was told how my grandfather knew of my love and collection of dolls and wanted me to have something that could not be bought in stores. My eyes were opened.

The gift I received was from a place of love and how, because of that, I grew to love that gift. Many of the outfits were handmade, making them one-of-a-kind. My favorite was a slim salmon-colored dress with a bow in the front. I stored and carried all my Barbie supplies in a small orange suitcase. When ‘accessorizing’ with friends (once we felt we were too old to play with dolls) my friends often asked to borrow some of those outfits, which I happily obliged.

I first saw a gift that was old and a little disappointing; I now see the value in receiving a vintage gift. An old item was made new. When disappointment finds its way to you, what can you do to see the situation in a different way?

The ultimate gift from God, God’s gift of love, was the birth, life, and death of Jesus. Jesus’ birth led the way for each of us to become new. God works through us to share God’s love. How can we see God’s love in others? How can we show God’s love to others?

Shelly Hansen is employed at UnityPoint Robert Young Center as a mental health provider. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and crafting. She has a young adult son named David.

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