Faith

Second Sunday of Advent: Grateful for New Beginnings

This liturgical season, thank God for the gift of Christ

What if, upon one’s death, instead of a photo of one’s face and biographical information about one’s earthly life, there appeared instead a picture of one’s heart and only what that person had done for love of God and to further His Kingdom? What would yours say?

Leading up to Advent, the daily Mass readings were all about “the end times.” Why? Because Advent is all about the New Beginning.

“For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

We can read those apocalyptic writings and get discouraged, or we can read them as a beautiful reminder that our days on earth are numbered and God gives us each breath as a gift. He told Adam this: “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19)image1

Why not take this Advent, the “New Beginning,” as an opportunity to look within your heart and see what is really there? Do you find love? Compassion? Joy? Peace? Patience? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self Control? Virtues such as purity, hope and fortitude?

If not, ask God for them! God longs for these virtues and the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) to be in our lives even more than we do. He is the great physician and excellent at giving heart transplants. If you look into yours, and you don’t find what you are looking for — turn it into Him and ask for a new one, one that looks more like His.

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How amazing is our God? He is ever new, ever faithful, ever longing for our delight to be Him. And the only way that will ever happen is if we have hearts that look like His.

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This Advent, take advantage of the “do over” God is offering each of us through the birth of His Son — our opportunity for a re-birth. Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.

Give to Him your heart of stone and ask Him for a heart of flesh — one full of the goodness of Him — in order to offer it right back to Him as a loving gift of thanks for all He has done for you.

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“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them. You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:26-28)

Dear Lord,
I want a heart that looks like yours. I want to be full of virtue and all of the fruit of the Spirit. I want fullness of life, to love and to serve you more, but I know this can only come as a gift of grace from You. This Advent, take my heart, in all of its stoniness, and replace it with a heart of flesh that beats in unison with Yours. Open my eyes to see new and creative ways to love and serve You more by loving and serving those around me. Take my life Lord, and make it pleasing to You in this season of Newness and joy.

I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Melissa Overmyer is the founder of Something Greater Ministries in Washington, D.C., and has been teaching the Bible for over 30 years.

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