Sometimes we are given beautiful gifts. Gifts are perhaps on our minds as we approach Christmas. At our first Advent Café a conversation took place in which one participant spoke of a tradition of giving ‘soul gifts’ for Christmas alongside other material gifts. She meant a gift desired to lift the spirits of another, to let them know they are thought of, that they are special to us in profound ways. Sue spent Monday sitting with her mother in the Cohuna hospital. It was difficult leaving her Mum because we don’t know if we will see her again, but fearing we likely will. Lots of conflicting emotions are caught up in such existential moments, wanting what’s best for those we love, yet knowing that will be painful for us. As we drove out of town, contemplating the long drive home when we were already tired, for the next hour we were gifted prime viewing of one of the most amazing sunsets we have ever seen. It slowly evolved from nuanced pinks in the cloud covering, blossomed into myriad bands of different shades of colour and texture clustering around what could have been the vortex of a volcano, and finally slowly faded through such subtle colourations. It was as if God was through this beautiful natural event pouring healing salve on our pain, much as the rainbow was received as a sign from God of God’s protection. Some might call that a coincidence. I am happy to receive it as a gift from our loving God who cradles us in love whatever changes are unfolding around us, assuring us that we can confidently trust God to be our companion through whatever unfolds ahead of us.