Sunday, December 6, 2015

Preparing Our Hearts

A couple of weeks ago, I received some encouragement from my mentor to start blogging again.  Seems like some of my more positive, devotional, or more useful posts on Facebook and social media carry an encouraging message for others.  I'm known for posting a lot of random stuff, but have made an intentional effort over the last year have become more selective in what I post.  I still get here and there from family members "well, you gonna put that on Facebook?" and admit while it can be a little amusing or annoying, find myself challenged to post things that will make a positive difference among my friends and family.  It seems like today that we are finding ourselves more polarized as a society and social media is definitely not exempt.  I guess in some ways, some of my more inspirational posts are mini sermons in themselves, as well as small snippets of what my original blog was meant to do.  We need a word of hope, and need to see the light in this world of darkness, both the darkness that may be in our hearts and in our world.

This morning, I had the honor of preaching the word at Hope Presbyterian Church where I have served as music director since October 1, 2012, along with doing my ministry internship there.  Since Pastor Dottie's retirement at the end of May and the conclusion of my internship, I have been in the role of pastoral assistant with our transitional pastor, so always look forward to the opportunity to preach and share God's word to the congregation.  Today's scripture was Isaiah 40: 1-11.  The words, "Comfort, comfort my people" (v. 1) and "prepare the way of the Lord" (v. 3) jumped out today.  Last week, we heard from 2 Kings 22: 14-20 in which God will "bring disaster on the people" because of their failure to follow God's word.  However this week, God turns around 360 degrees and instead offers words of comfort, compassion, and tenderness.  But, it is also time to prepare, time to prepare for God's return among the people and for the people to return to their land.

However today, we need God to break into our lives more than ever.  We need to hear from God once again, making "a highway for God" through the wildernesses of our own lives.  We hear too often on the news about senseless acts of violence and continue to see the effects of the unequal distribution of wealth, making it feel like we are in a perpetual state of darkness.  We have a lot to prepare for, but Advent is a great time to re-center our hearts even in the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings.  While it feels like the preparation for Christmas begins super early (usually September), will we be ready when Christmas rolls around?  What are we doing to prepare our hearts?  What practices are we incorporating to make Advent a time to prepare and slow our hearts down?

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