December 22: Giving Glory to God

Published December 22, 2015 by Unprodigal Daughter


Today’s Old Testament and Gospel reading show both Hannah and Mary rejoicing in God for the gifts they have received. For the ancient Jew, there was no greater blessing than the blessing of a child, so these two chosen women were especially happy. Hannah and Mary were on top of the world, and they praised God’s name in thanksgiving. In this season of giving and receiving, we need to learn to give all the credit back to God and praise his name like these two holy women did.

In Hannah’s case, she prayed for Samuel to come, and because she was granted her request, she dedicated her son to the Lord. For Mary, she did not request a child, but was bestowed the blessing of a child that would also be dedicated to the Lord. In both situations, the women sing praises to God. The conversations they have with God are enthusiastic and genuine. They are truly in love with God and are thankful for his blessing. When they are given a gift from God, they use it as a means to give back to God. Mary dedicates her life to raising God’s son, and Hannah ensures that her son grow up to be a holy man. 

Unfortunately, for many of us, receiving God’s blessing does not ensure that we will use that blessing in a way that gives back to God. In fact, most of the time, when we talk to God, we are more concerned with the next blessing that we expect from Him. 

As this Advent season comes to a close, and we enter into our season of Christmas, let us try to use our gifts to give back to God. Let us praise God’s holy name for all that He has done for us. We too can be enthusiastic about God, instead of only talking to God when we want something. Let us allow our souls to proclaim the greatness of the Lord!

Opening Prayer

The Magnificat

My heart extols the Lord, my God. My joy is God my Savior. He looks upon his humble maid, with love and gentle favor. Now all the earth from this great day will call me happy daughter: The mighty God his servant found, and wondrous graces brought her. 
His name the Holy, great his love Through countless generations. His mercy is from age to age on all God-fearing nations. With mighty arm he shows his pow’r, he strikes the proud, they crumble. The rulers of the land deposed, the Lord enthrones the humble. 
He fills the hungry, and the poor He lavishes with plenty. But rich and greedy ones are doomed, for these he exiles empty. God’s mercy comes to Israel and Abraham’s great nation. From promise made in ancient days to endless generations. 

(taken from

Daily Readings

Reading 1: 1 SM 1:24-28

In those days,
Hannah brought Samuel with her,
along with a three-year-old bull,
an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh.
After the boy’s father had sacrificed the young bull,
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
“Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.”
She left Samuel there.
Responsorial Psalm: 1 SAMUEL 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

R. (see 1a) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.


Gospel: LK 1:46-56

Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.

(taken from



Bishop Barron offers us a few more thoughts on Advent and Christmas in this clip.

Additional Activity

Test your knowledge of the Nativity stories with this short quiz. If you don’t know an answer, it’s a great opportunity to go back and reflect on the passage itself.

Closing Prayer

A Christmas Prayer
Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense
would I have for you this season,
but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find,
the ones that are perfect,
even for those who have everything (if such there be).

I would (if I could)
have for you the gift of courage,
the strength to face the gauntlets
only you can name,
and the firmness in your heart to know
that you (yes, you!) can be a bearer of the quiet dignity
that is the human glorified.

I would (if by my intention I could make it happen)
have for you the gift of connection,
the sense of standing on the hinge of time,
touching past and future
standing with certainty that you (yes, you!)
are the point where it all comes together.

I would (if wishing could make it so)
have for you the gift of community,
a nucleus of love and challenge,
to convince you in your soul
that you (yes, you!) are a source of light
in a world too long believing in the dark.

Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense,
would I have for you this season,
but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find,
the ones that are perfect,
even for those who have everything (if such there be).

-Rev. Maureen Killoran, from

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