God's Word: Live It!

All Earth is hopeful Matthew 11:2-11

Yesterday we listened to Mary's song (The Magnificat) in which she thanks God for being chosen to give birth to the Messiah. We talked about her pregnancy in terms of it being a "before" and time of "expecting." The question we asked ourselves is how are we going to handle our spiritual lives before the Nativity, before the Christ child arrives. We are surrounded by reasons to, once again, overlook the actual moment of God breaking into our lives on Christmas Eve. What can we do in the midst of our preparations for Christmas, in the time before Christmas Eve/Day so we're not so distracted, so anxious or too exhausted to make room for the arrival of Jesus. Here are some suggestions:

  • Attend this Wednesday's Advent service from 6:30-7:00. A quiet half hour to step out of our world and into a world of candlelight and quiet.
  • Buy one less gift and replace it with an expression of love like a hug, an "I love you" or a simple invitation for a cup of coffee.
  • While driving to the store for gifts or food, or to a party, use the drive time to pray, to reflect, to give thanks.
  • Boycott the news for a day or two to remind ourselves that "He rules the world, with truth and grace  ..."
  • Give up the goal of perfection and any power you give to that evil illusion.
  • Smile. Smile a lot. Especially when you don't feel like it.

There's a voice in the wilderness Matthew 3:1-12

Yesterday John the Baptist challenged us to "Repent!" We often think of that word in connection with a threat of eternal damnation. However, the call to repent isn't about changing our behavior or else, and it's not about punishment in the next life. It's about changing our minds about others in this life. We are called to see others as equals and worthy of our kindness, service and prayers.

Advent preparation gives us another opportunity to change our hearts, moving away from judgement into acceptance of those we find hardest not to judge. Each of us, unfortunately, has a list of people we judge for reasons that are not acceptable under the reign of the Christ child. We are a people who fell far short of God's expectations and yet, were spared judgement on the cross. We can live lives free from judging others, giving us the opportunity to serve those we used to judge.

Let's try this. Choose one person or group of persons that for whatever reason we have decided are unworthy of our understanding or forgiveness or love. Then, let's use the time and energy we expend on judging them to learn about them, forgive them or pray to God to release us from our judgmental hearts. This is what it means to "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."

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