It has been said that we are born with a “God-shaped” hope in our hearts. It is a space reserved for God alone, although sometimes we are not aware of this. Until we recognize what that hole is, we try to fill it up by stuffing earthly things into it – possessions, activities, and self -importance. It’s like trying to force the wrong piece of a jigsaw puzzle into a space not meant for it. It doesn’t work. Nothing but God will fit into the “God-shaped” hole. Advent is the time to invite God into that empty space in our hearts.
As we decorate our homes and trees with strings of sparkling lights that transform the common and the ordinary into the magical, we are reminded that although alone we are but one small light, united in the community of Christ, we become the shining and significant sign of the presence of God. As we prepare a great feast for friends and family, we ask God to grant us a true hunger for love that is patient, never rude and never broods over injuries. Let us decorate our hearts with deeds of compassion for the poor, with acts of love and service to one another and with kindness to all. The preparation and decoration of our hearts should rival the joyous beauty in our homes and cities. A lighted candle in the window is an age-old sign that a traveler is welcome to stop and rest. We are called to open our hearts and offer a candle of compassion for those who seek comfort. As we wrap gifts in beautiful packages, let us not forget the gifts of patience, kindness, sincerity and humor. When we heed the call of God during this Advent season and open our hearts to Him, we will find that “God-shaped” hole in our hearts will be filled. The mystic, Meister Eckhart said, “Unless Christ is born in each and every heart, he is not born at all.”
Together, may we answer the call to re-form and re-shape our hearts and allow the Christ Child to be born within us.