Jesus’ coming is meant to touch and change everything, including human hearts*. Simeon prophesied over him telling his mother and Joseph, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” We read in the gospels of hardened hearts. Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand the parables, or the way of the kingdom in Jesus, because their hearts were hard. They learned from Jesus that Moses permitted God’s people to divorce (specifically in that society, the men) because their hearts were hard. But that this was not to be permitted in the new society he would bring.
Hard hearts. I see it in myself at times. Why is it so hard for me to love those who I think dislike me? Why am I sometimes unlikeable myself? Good questions, and these can end up becoming growing points, as I ask God to search me and know my heart, to test me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there is any offensive way in me (in the sense of uncovering it, so that I am aware of it before God), and lead me in the way everlasting.
Of course this means repentance along with faith that in Jesus there can and will be change. The change comes over time. And we remember that a broken and contrite heart, God does not despise.
This is something of which we need to be aware. Our focus needs to be on Jesus, and on God’s will in him. Not on us and our sin. But we do need to be aware and at times have a glimpse of our true selves so that we can confess our sins, and repent so that through Jesus there may be change. Ongoing in our lives. And in the spirit of the well known words: “Have a heart!” we want to proceed on during this Advent season and throughout the year in the way of Jesus with others in Jesus in God’s love for the world.
*Heart refers to the inward disposition which includes our thoughts, affections, aversions, attitudes, and everything else from which we live.