Blessings for Hand-Me-Downs

Blessings for Hand-Me-Downs

For Giving

God of abundance, of life and growth—
How did these wee ones get so big?
How are their once-new clothes
Already short or tight or small?

As I wash and fold these favorites 
One last time,
Ready to pass on
To a new family,
I give thanks for all the life
Lived in these clothes—

The meals together (even when they spilled),
The afternoons spent playing (even when they got dirty),
The practices and games (even when they came home sweaty).

From onesies and tiny socks.
To play clothes and costumes and uniforms, 
Our endless heaps of laundry
Tell the story of our family growing.

Which is why giving away
Is always hard and good at once.

(Which You know, God.
You who gave Yourself away
To us completely.)

In the quiet task of sorting and folding, 
I ask You, God of compassion,
To hold my tender heart a little longer. 
Soften my twinge of sadness at time passing.
Fill my ache for the younger ones they once were.

A child’s growth is a mother’s joy
But also her secret sorrow.
You know this, too, God—
Who are Abba of us all.

What a gift it is to give,
As You have so freely given.

For Receiving

God of goodness,
Thank you for the gift of these clothes,
The new-to-us joys that will fill my children’s drawers.

As they rummage with glee
Through bags and bins heaped with hand-me-downs,
I give thanks 
For the generosity of friends and strangers—
All whose thoughtfulness brought these gifts to our door.

As I watch my children 
Run and jump and play,
Let me remember the children 
Who once wore the same clothes
And their parents who passed them on.

What a gift that You connect us all
In circles of support and communities of care.

As I receive with gratitude, 
Help me to give freely in turn,
To pass on what we do not need,
To share the extra we have, too.

What a gift it is to receive,
As You have taught us to receive.

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