January 1

O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts. Psalm 95:7-8
 
Be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
 
“Tis the season,” isn’t it? Along with worship, music, good wishes, family, feasts, gifts we are reminded of why we have this time. Jesus, the gift of this season is the gift beyond compare.  It is a time of worship and listening to the Word of God. It also reminds each of us that we are aways commanded to act on what we know to be right and good. 
 
It is such a time even when we face difficult times during the Christmas season. God still speaks to us and listens to our voices, even when he feels far from us. He still instructs each one of us to be filled with the Spirit. Maybe that comfort feels far away, but it is still there. He listens to our deeply buried hurts that shut out his love and the love of others. 
 
Christmas Day 2019 and a fire breaks out in the Drake Hotel in downtown Minneapolis displacing over 200 people each of whom has suffered losses far beyond that which most of us can imagine. It is a structure which was being used to house those who might otherwise be homeless, or living in substandard housing. Where is the hope? Hope comes when so many generous folks donate diapers, blankets, clothes, etc, until no more can be accepted. Hope comes when the Red Cross and other resources mobilize and step in. Hope comes when fund-raising opens the hearts and wallets of thousands. Comfort may seem far away for many of these folks; yet, they are receiving glimmers of hope through the avenues of the hearts of those who are filled with the Spirit, and who care and reach out.
 
May this Spirit of love and compassion continue to fill hearts and lives throughout the days ahead. God asks no less of us, his chosen family. We are to be filled with the Spirit and to help one another through countless selfless acts of kindness. In giving such we each receive blessings beyond compare. God bless us every one, and he does.
 
Dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Thank you for being the mender of hearts and lives. Help us to reach out in compassion and love just as you have to each one of us. Help us to forgive others and to live in love as you have taught us to do. Thank you for being there during the difficult times. Amen.
 
Florence Smallfield