Advent reflection: Awakening our hearts to love

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director.

“Ö May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all Ö”
(1 Thes 3:12)

Most of us know to be on guard against hardness of heart. Nor do we want to be faint-hearted, cold-hearted or broken-hearted.

But do we take care to keep from becoming drowsy-hearted? In the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent, being drowsy-hearted is the condition that Jesus seems to be most concerned about.

In the Gospel, Jesus cautions us to keep our hearts awake and attentive for his coming.

On the surface, the reading seems to be about his final coming at the end of time, but a deeper examination shows our more immediate concern should be the various encounters with Christ that might happen at any hour of any day. These are the encounters that a drowsy heart would be most likely to miss.

How does a heart become drowsy? One way might be from lack of proper rest, brought on by overuse in the pursuit of pleasure.

Hearts that insist on seeking contentment where it canít be found are especially prone to such exhaustion.

But there is another path to drowsiness of the heart, and those who have had their hearts broken can be the most vulnerable. This drowsiness is a side effect of attempts to numb ourselves from the pains of life.

Painkillers of choice come in many forms both pronounced and subtle.

Even things that begin as noble and generous pursuits can become heart-deadening if they distract a person from the authentic love of others.

Because human beings are made to be in relationships, the truest path to intimacy with Christ is found in loving other people.

CFCA sponsor, Meah, with her sponsored friend Monica.

Meah, a teenage CFCA sponsor, visits with her sponsored friend, Monica, in Guatemala.

This is a simple truth, yet one that we can easily forget. Advent ó the season of renewing our faith in a God who loves us so deeply as to become one of us ó is the perfect time to rededicate ourselves to embracing the simple goodness of living in communion with others.

CFCA wants to gently help people in their journey toward deeper human kindness and solidarity.

We seek to build caring relationships that build one another up and help them grow in their capacity for happiness.

As we begin this season of preparation to receive Christ Incarnate into our world, let us begin by allowing our hearts to be fully awakened to those around us.

Let us be brave enough to set aside whatever remedies we might be relying on to mask our pain and, instead, celebrate the authenticity of life shared with others.

Then, with our hearts awake and eyes wide open, we can begin to figure out where that star might lead.

Related links:
Awakening our hearts to love [1st Advent reflection]
‘For it is in giving that we receive’ [2nd Advent reflection]
‘God dwells within the human family’ [3rd Advent reflection]

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