A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Cold Hands . . . Cold Heart?

Posted on: December 12, 2013

December 12th it may be, but winter has arrived. The cold nipped at my nose when I put out the recycling this morning, and my bulldog rushed through her business to get inside for breakfast and snore in her comfy bed by the fireplace.

For some people, all this snow and cold weather deserve a “Humbug!” For winter lovers like me, it’s beginning to look and feel like Christmas.

With the shopping finally out of the way, I can relax and enjoy baking fruitcake and cookies, wrapping gifts, and of course trimming the tree (assuming my young cat, Pixie, won’t climb it and will limit her stealing to an ornament or two each day), but also lighting the candles on our Advent ring, listening to carols, and preparing my heart for Christmas.

Brass Advent ring

Candles for Advent

Recently I read in Ezekiel 11:19-20* and 36:26 about God’s plans to restore the exiled Israelites and cleanse them from their sins:

“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

At this time of year, it seems we become more aware of others’ needs and wants and not only our own; of the real needs in and beyond our community for basics like food, shelter and warm clothing; of our need for the safety, dignity and peace that so many lack. If we’re willing to let our hearts be softened, we might just let God in to work in our lives to help meet these needs. And not only during the Advent season.

My prayer for all of us this Christmas is that we would ask, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). May we not harden our hearts but keep them open to his Spirit. And whatever the weather, may we anticipate the coming of Jesus to be God-with-us.

Bless the Lord, ice and cold,

sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, frosts and snows,

sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

~ Daniel 3:49-50

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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