And Then the Change Occurred
By Carol Norris Vincent of Independence, MO, USA
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. —Luke 6:36 NRSV
It was the second Sunday of Advent, and the theme was “Prepare the Way.” The guest minister spoke with a booming voice as he asked us what happens to us when we prepare to receive the greatest gift God has given us—the life of God’s Son. He challenged us by saying that when we prepare, our hearts will change—not just a one-time change, but moment-by-moment changes that occur within us as we allow transformation in our life as a disciple.
His sermon reminded me of a day that did not start out well, but soon changed. It is my practice to visit the elderly, sick, and dying in the community where I live. I normally set aside parts of three days a week for these visits. They have been such a blessing to me; I am strengthened and nourished by the fortitude and love these people give me and others around them.
This particular morning I woke tired from a restless night’s sleep; I was in a crabby mood. My first thought was that I would not go visiting, but then I realized that some of my new-found friends were depending on me to share the day with them. So I grudgingly (God, forgive me!) started my rounds. After the first visit, I was feeling better. I was in a lighter mood and went willingly to the next room.
Then the change occurred. I realized I was not the one taking friendship and caring to others. Their love was reviving me. As I left the room, I had a big grin on my face and said (I’m sure I must have said it aloud!), “Oh, Lord, you lift me up!” That day turned out to be a joyful day for me.
Perhaps I had been preparing my heart to receive God’s gift for the day.
Prayer for Peace
God of Wisdom, help us prepare for the changes in store for us. May we welcome them as blessings on our journey. May we use what we learn to pursue peace in the Advent season.
Spiritual Practice: Advent—Hope
Close your mind to troubling thoughts from the past by placing them in God’s generous hands and letting them go. Let God speak to your fearful heart. Think of your hope for the future—open windows in your mind through which you can see compassionate actions. Reflect on the approaching hope of the Christ child. What is your part in the reason for that hope? Rejoice in the Hope of the world.
Today, God, even if I have to start out grudgingly, I WILL start. I have hope in my heart for change.