There is someone shouting in the desert:“Prepare the way for the Lord. Make the road straight for him… Change your hearts! And show by your lives that you have changed.” Luke 3:4b, 8a (Easy-to-Read Version)
Last week we heard about the birth of John the Baptist. This week we heard about the man he grew up to be, a messenger who came to help people prepare for the coming Messiah. We talked about how it was not just an outward preparation with baptism but that he wanted us to prepare our hearts. We took a crumpled up pipe red pipe cleaner and “made it straight” and then shaped it into a heart to remind us of John’s message to share what we have with others, work without grumbling and to be honest and kind. We also shared a snack of “bugs” made with donut hole bodies, pretzel stick legs and antennae and chocolate chip eyes!
This week right when my mind was full of John’s message because of preparing the lessons as well as lighting the peace Advent candle each night, something that rarely ever happens for me anymore happened. I had a fight with the love of my life, my beloved husband of 32 years. I wish I could tell you that it was over something of huge significance. It wasn’t. It was over something small at the end of a long, somewhat annoying day for both of us. We were tired and hungry and trying to get dinner on the table, and seemingly out of nowhere, we each said some unkind things and hurt each other. Dinner followed in an unbearable semi-silence only broken by brief, monosyllabic conversation. It was awful. Inside I felt I was in a desert, dying of thirst, yet so caught up in my anger and hurt that I couldn’t seem to find the way out. I thought of John’s message, and slowly began to try to see my husband’s point of view. It prepared me for when we sat and talked the next morning to come from a place of understanding and compassion instead of anger and pain, and he responded in kind. Our relationship was healed and I would argue stronger than it was.
Leaving all my friends and family in Texas and coming to Baltimore where I knew no one felt like a desert too. But every time I walk through the doors of Redeemer, I change and I grow in this wonderful community that has welcomed me in. As David said in his sermon this morning, I am learning to turn from my small mindedness, my hardheartedness and my fear. What am I being prepared for here? God with me.
We challenged the children to think of one change they could make this week to share with or be kinder to someone else. You can reinforce this at home by noticing when they do and acknowledge how they are living out their faith. Maybe you can also pick something that is currently difficult in your life, and allow yourself to have a positive perspective shift and notice if anything changes.
I wish you a wonderful week full of joy and hope to see you Sunday!
Editor’s Note: Each week that Sunday School is in session Kathy LaPlant, Director of Children’s Ministries sends an email to parents of young children through grade 3 as a follow-up to the morning’s lesson. We will publish them on this blog on Monday mornings.