And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children…
to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
We need to be made ready for the coming of Immanuel. This time of waiting is a time of preparation. Our minds and hearts are not in a state of that is receptive to this miracle of love, to this surprise of grace. Our hearts are hardened with anger and despair. Our hearts are guarded in fear. As we wait for the celebration of the coming of the Messiah we would do well to listen to the messenger sent to help us prepare.
“Fathers, turn you hearts to your children,” the messenger calls out.
What a surprising thing to hear! How will fathers turning their hearts to their children possibly prepare people for the coming of Jesus?
There are probably many ways that this truth works its power in us.
Perhaps the most obvious dynamic that happens when we, as adults, turn our hearts toward the children in our lives is that children’s hearts open when when we turn to them in kindness, patience and respectfulness. When we regularly communicate love and delight for a child, the child will learn to trust that he is lovable and valuable. The child’s heart will respond to love with love. As a result, the child will be better prepared to respond to the love of God.
Another dynamic that often happens when we adults turn our hearts toward the children in our lives is that the our longing for love is awakened. If our parents were loving and available to us, we may realize, again, our ongoing need for compassion, support and guidance. If our parents were not available to us, for whatever reason, we may begin to awaken to our lifelong longing for love, as we open our hearts to the children in our lives. Either way, this awakening to the longing for love can dramatically increase our anticipation of and openness to the coming of the One who is the embodiment of God’s compassion and grace.
Finally, when we turn our hearts toward the children in our lives, we connect with our deepest feelings toward these children. We are reminded how precious these children are to us. We remember that these children do not need to earn their love, but that it has been a given since the beginning of their lives. As we open our hearts in this way toward the children in our lives we are given glimpses into the reality of our own preciousness to God. We are given glimpses into God’s heart open to us all.
Make me ready, Lord
for your coming.
Turn my heart to the children
in my life
and awaken in me a longing for you.
Heal the wound I carry
whose hearts were distant from me.
Turn my heart toward the children
in my life
that they might remember
and that I might get glimpses
of my preciousness to you.
God of love,
prepare my heart
for your coming.
Make me ready
for the surprise of your grace
and for the miracle of you love.