When we're little, the reason we get new things to wear is because we've grown. I remember receiving a gift of a 3-6 month babygro when my first son was born and thinking he would never fit into anything so huge. Of course I was wrong, and moving on to that sleep-suit was just the start of what felt like an endless progression of new this and new that until he could finally fund his own way through his wardrobe.
In the story of Hannah and Samuel. the detail I love is that when she visited her son each year up at the Temple, she would take with her a new garment for him. I imagine her sewing away in the weeks leading up to that reunion, all the time dreaming of how he must have changed since they last met.
We don't always like change. Even growth - the best sort of change - can be painful or at least uncomfortable during the transition. But if there is no growth, no metaphorical or literal need for a bigger outfit, then what have we got? Without stretching ourselves to higher goals or larger achievements we have settled for the status quo (the safe black boots), normally heralding the beginning of a backward slide.
This year I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I get cross with myself for saying I'm a writer but doing so little of it and so this month I have decided to push myself hard and kick-start a new habit to re-order my priorities. Typically, wouldn't you know, November has brought more interior design business into the diary than recent months, so the challenge already feels harder. As I enter each day's word count into the little box at the top of my homepage, I am like Hannah making a bigger outfit for her son. I have been given a gift, as she was, that I have dedicated to God and through joy as well as hardship I am determined to see it grow.