Reflection on     Luke 21:25-36, Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 

Sermon “Heavy Hearts”
   Like Martha in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke, we are often distracted and busy with so many things when there is only one thing necessary (Luke 10:40).      Jesus warns us that all of these distractions and busyness can weigh down our hearts and blind us to what is going on around us.  How many times have you been distracted in the car and missed your exit?  Or, have you ever been so tired or burdened that you arrive at your destination but can remember the trip?  A heart filled with stress and worry distorts how we view our world and our life.  This is especially true during the holidays when expectations and lists of things to do can feel overwhelming.  Like Martha, we are so busy doing that we miss what is happening right in front of us.
   Our faith proclaims that Jesus will return.  The question we ask ourselves every Advent is “Are we so busy that we will not be ready?”.  Reflecting upon the first coming that Christmas in Bethlehem, we have to wonder if people were so worried about themselves that no one was willing to give up their room for a woman who was obviously in distress.  Where was their compassion?  Do we sometimes become so heavyhearted that we cannot see before our own immediate problems and tasks?  Jesus calls us to look up from our burdens and await his coming.  If we pay attention to what God is doing, there will be indications that Jesus is coming soon.  All we have to do is let go of our worries.
   Letting go is incredibly difficult if you feel that nothing will get done without you.  When the burdens of the world seem to rest on our shoulders, we feel guilt if something doesn't get done.  We can feel like the person who spins plates on poles running from pole to pole making sure the plates don't fall.  Our plates may be children or jobs or relationship but we all at times feel like there are too many plates to spin.  If a plate falls, we feel like we have let someone down and fear the consequences.  Some people escape into denial or distractions so that don't have to face the guilt while others avoid spinning any plates.  All of this points to one underlying problem – we think and act like we are God.  Jeremiah reminds us that the LORD is our righteousness.  Not what we do or what cause we support but the LORD is our righteousness.  God is the one who keeps the plates spinning and God calls us to the plates we need to focus on.  The only One we ever might let down is God and in Jesus we have been forgiven.  If the LORD is our righteousness, then why do we burden our hearts with worries and distractions.
   When we live by faith, then we experience a lightness in our hearts.  We know that God is in charge and will give us both the strength and resources to face any challenge on the path Jesus leads us down.  Free from worries and distractions, our hearts are open to receive the love and grace of God.  As Paul tells those in Thessalonica, God will continue to pour love into your life to overflowing for you community and everyone.  When we let go of our expectations and self imposed check lists, we find the holiday season full of unexpected moments of love and joy.  We discover that Jesus has come again in the people we meet and the love we experience.  When we focus on the one thing necessary, everything else falls into place.  It may not be perfect but it will be a memory worth cherishing.  This Advent, unburden your heart and let the love of Christ in.