“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
What is the condition of your heart? Perhaps you have a heart problem? Likely your heart ailment is hidden from human detection. Even your cardiologist could not discover the complication. We have a God who looks at the heart. God sees what people cannot see. Each of us has hidden places that hurt sometimes, like a spiritual ache that won’t go away. Often we keep these heart pains to ourselves. Somewhere deep in the recesses of our souls there are burdens we bear, worries we gnaw on, wounds that won’t heal. These heart scars come from harmful relationships of the past, struggles of the present and fears of the future.
Only God can heal the heart. Often times it is only God’s Son Jesus Christ who is able to break into these shadow places and shine a healing light. These deep “heart” spots sometimes bear a profound emptiness that cry out to be filled. Ultimately, our hearts long for God.
Advent is a season that moves our hearts out of darkness into the light of Jesus Christ. The Christian season of Advent begins the four Sundays before Christmas. This year Advent starts on Sunday, November 27. The word Advent comes from the Latin word advenire which means “to come”. An advent signals an arrival of a very special person. For Christians throughout history, it is the anticipation of Christ’s coming. Each year we celebrate that the light of Christ comes into our hearts in a fresh new way – shining a supernatural light that dispels all darkness.
Where hearts are hardened, people are trapped in anger, hatred and meanness. Where hearts are broken, people carry pain from loss of loved ones and wounds from harmful relationships. Where hearts are divided, people are overcome by doubt and disbelief. Where hearts are distracted, people are swamped by the stress and anxiety of daily life. Where hearts are afraid, people are paralyzed from living life fully.
In anticipation and longing, we open our hearts to the coming light of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ brings healing and restoration to our hearts. He is the heart healer! We have a loving savior who mends what is torn and restores what is broken. Our God takes a heart full of sin and cleanses it, creating a new and purified heart. Our God takes a heart that is weak and strengthens it, putting a new and right spirit inside us. Our God takes a heart that is empty and pours in love, joy and peace.
During Advent, I think of the heart as a cradle, a crèche or a manger. A place where something is born. The tiny child born in a barren manger on a dark, cold night in Bethlehem, is the same powerful, everlasting savior who is born in our hearts today -– Jesus Christ. Come Lord Jesus. Shine in our hearts this Christmas!
Join us for our new Advent sermon series – The Heart of Christmas beginning November 27 and continuing through Christmas Eve December 24.
-Dr. Jan Davis
Central’s Senior Pastor