Monday of Advent III – Prayer of the Week

Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The other day I was working in my carport and the UPS truck stopped. A young man jumped out and walked up toward the front of the house. I got his attention, and he came toward me. He explained that he had a delivery, an item in packaging which clearly indicated the contents. He was concerned about ruining someone’s Christmas surprise if he just left it there and it was discovered by the recipient. It was indeed the case and I managed to secret it away prior to the other being aware. Mission accomplished!

My heart is warmed by that little event. The driver could have just dropped it and gone on. It is not his job to care about such things. It is good to see some goodness in the world. We need to hear about such things. The other day I was commiserating with a friend about how weary I was of the homeless crisis in Portland. I am tired of the trash, the sense of insecurity, the persistent theft taking place at local shops. I really want to be able to walk down some streets in my city and feel safe. I want the same thing for my wife and daughter. I walked out of church after that conversation and my hands were full. I had a briefcase, a book, of course my coffee mug, and more. I managed to balance it all in my hands but when got to my car I realized that the door was locked, and the keys were in my pocket. I wonder if anyone saw me doing a strange dance with arms full of stuff as I tried to fish the keys from my pocket without dropping anything. I hope they were charitable if they did see me. I am sure I looked ridiculous. 

Jesus comes to shine light into the darkness of our hearts. We do not appreciate just how shadowy our lives have become and how much our eyes have adapted to the shadows. My car has locks. It has them because some people steal cars. When Jesus shines his light on the hearts of humanity that last day, we will not need locks anymore, not on houses, cars, or anything else. I do not think too much about the need for locks. I even have a cool key fob that will unlock them for me if I push the right button. Locks are just part of my life, but locks are a part of the brokenness of human life. We should not need them. Sin forces them upon us. I cope with it. We should not need passwords, eyeglasses, aspirin, copyrights, and so much more that we simply accept as normal. The truth is, my life needs Jesus’ light in so many ways, many of them I might not even think are particularly dark. I am used to them. They feel normal. When we turn our gaze inward, to the recesses of our heart, there is darkness there as well with which we have grown far too comfortable, accepting our pettiness, jealousy, irritability, or lust as just a part of being human. It is not. It is part of being a broken human being. That is why people buying coffee for the car behind them at Starbucks or a considerate UPS driver seems like such good news. Should it be abnormal or normal? Jesus, the light of the world, comes to shine light in the darkness and to make generosity, kindness, love, and care normal. Amen, come, Lord Jesus! 

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