The Friday after Thanksgiving has always been a day to be celebrated on my calendar. Growing up in an adamant “no Christmas til after Thanksgiving” home, I have always looked forward to it being after Thanksgiving. Even now, having rebelliously listened to Christmas and even beginning to decorate before Thanksgiving, I still woke up with the feeling of celebration. Christmas is truly here now. No hold backs, no Scrooges to complain about Christmas music playing before it’s time, no fall decorations filling up the shelves where Christmas is longing to be. Christmastime is here!
So the Christmas music is on, the decorations lining Main Street and I am more than excited this season to be here. I am ready for Advent, for it to change my heart, shake up my world, unsettle all complacency. I am ready for Christ to come, and to seek Him in a radical, life altering way.
What I want more than anything this Advent season is a soft heart.
“Blessed is the man who always fears The Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”-Proverbs 28:14
The ones who were graced by the presence of The Lord throughout the nativity story were all initially fearful. Do not be afraid were words spoken to Zecheriah, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds. Clearly there’s a theme. Those who fear God are those who see God. Those who have hardened their hearts have done so to escape fear. They have experienced too many hurts, and have too much pride. They are unwilling to put themselves in any more vulnerable positions. They encase their hearts, encrusted them so that nothing can penetrate them – not even an epiphany.
“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”-Hebrews 3:7-8
Hearts can become hard without us hardly noticing. The battle for a soft heart must be fought daily. Perhaps this Advent season we can all cry out for God to soften our hearts, to break our hearts for what breaks his. You can be sure he will answer this prayer.
The season can quickly become filled. Finals, events, extra family, and errands can fill the spaces and gaps in our day, and within a few short weeks we will be at Christmas Day, with the season behind us. If Jesus is truly the reason for this season then what are we doing to intentionally open our hearts to his entrance?
It is my desire to create space here for us all to be still for a few moments each day this Advent and soften our hearts again (and again), that we might tremble when he makes himself known. Maybe we all can fear a little more and be the recipient of epiphanies – ordinary and otherwise – in the 2014 Advent season.
We’ll start on Sunday, I hope to see you here and journey together as we soften our hearts and prepare for Christmas.