Preparing Our Hearts

I love “Thanksgiving”.  It’s my favorite holiday.  It revolves around food, family, sports, my annual bicycle ride around Cades Cove (one of my favorite places in Smoky Mountains National Park), and it is not fraught with high-powered commercialization. For these reasons, it is easy for me to spend time thinking about the many blessings for which I am thankful.

Jean and I are still giving thanks for our Covenant family following last month’s celebration. At first we felt a little uncomfortable being singled out for attention, but after conversations with many of you, we realized this was a good opportunity to celebrate our life together and God’s faithful provision among us. We are grateful to the Leadership Team, our children, staff, and so many of you who shared in the laughter. We were reminded of the truth of Proverbs 17:22 (A cheerful heart is good medicine- or- laughter is good medicine.)

Indeed we appreciate your grace, love, patience and encouragement through the years. We have learned important lessons from you as you have modeled a life of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, you have nurtured us toward a deeper and more transformative walk with Christ.

As we move into the Christmas Season it behooves us to remember that Advent is a good time to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, God’s coming into the world in human flesh. The intense commercialization of Christmas can distract us from it’s true meaning. How will you keep your mind on our Lord Jesus Christ?

Let me suggest some ways:

  • Use Covenant’s or another Advent Devotional
  • Participate in and support the Children’s Advent Program and Potluck Dinner (Finger Food) on Sunday, December 2
  • Participate in the Advent Summit, a prayer and meditation retreat on Saturday,

December 8

  • Worship each Sabbath and on Christmas Eve
  • Enjoy the music of the season; it is sublime!
  • Reflect on the painting, “Madonna and Child,” by Pompeo Batoni.

My prayer for all of us, for our world, is that Christmas will awaken within all of us the God-shaped hole God desires to fill with his Son, Jesus Christ. May we experience Jesus in such a way that we grow more like him. What might that mean for you?

The Lord bless you and keep you,