Good Shepherd – Change the Darkness – Joy – Be an example of Patience These are the themes Lynn L’Heureux reflects on in her weekly series Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday December 17, 2013
Dear Vincentian Family: Blessings of Joy to all of you as we enter into our third week of Advent. Waiting sometimes takes a long time and sometimes the time flies by. I find this to be true during Advent. I look at the calendar and see we are already half way through December. Tony and I are busy as I know most of you are with the Christmas hampers. For the past few years, we have gathered the people who have fallen through the cracks or are too large for some areas to handle. We give them to my son and his friend, who raise money throughout the year in their businesses for this and their staff donate, shop and sometimes deliver. We are doing this in the Advent week of Joy and joyful it is. We are so blessed. Nelson Mandela and family are in all of our hearts and prayers. My greatest joy was hearing him speak one time and telling people how they had to forgive. If he could forgive, we who have perhaps less to forgive should not hold on to resentment and anger. Find your joy in each other this week.
Good Shepherd – Who are the lost sheep in your life? Embrace them with prayer. Make Christmas happen for the lost sheep in your life. Continue to pray and know, Jesus, the greatest Shepherd of all loves all people unconditionally. The Good Shepherd brings hope, peace and joy to each of us. One of my favorite pictures is Jesus holding the sheep in His arms. I find this so comforting. I know sometimes I am the shepherd, but many times I am the lamb and the Good Shepherd rescues and protects me time and time again. Become a shepherd, bring your smile which is a great sign of peace, hope and joy to others. Pray for peace of mind for all our families and all we serve. Nelson Mandela taught us to stand in solidarity. As Vincentians we do stand with those who have less, and pray. Bring the Good Shepherd and see how the peace will work in those around us. See their joy and praise God for the change in them and their families.
Change the Darkness – Our work as Vincentians is often to change the darkness into light. One candle dispels the darkness. Light your candle for others. Relax yourself and others in Christ’s light. We have to make Christmas happen. We have the call to awaken Christ in all we serve. We have to awaken Him in ourselves first and relax in His light, so we may change the darkness. Christmas cannot be taken for granted. When you do this with your love and beautiful smile you awaken the Christ in others. This is the love God shares with us. Love radiates like a bright light in the darkness and places a flicker of light into our lives. This is the Light of Christ. Did you ever notice “?” is half of a light bulb. When we know the answer it becomes a full light bulb. You know the answer; now share your light with the great confidence of our Lord
Joy – A small word with big results when we accept the joy of Christ’s birth. Joy will make Christmas happen. Think of this amazing gift of a baby in a bed of straw, in a manger. Jesus came in poverty to save us. Help us not to get caught up in our own life to the point we become unable to see the joy, in each other, our families and in those we serve. Everything God puts before us is joy. Look for it and celebrate it. Sometimes we are slow to understand, like many in Scripture, but know our Saviour was born on Christmas Day and because of this we have the gift of joy, which is never kept to ourselves. Joy comes from knowing God is real and He is always there and He truly cares.
Be an example of Patience – Sometimes as Vincentians, or parents, teachers and leaders we have difficulty with patience. Or maybe it is just me. God calls all of us. He knows us and accepts us as we are. We are not conceived immaculate and neither are others, so we should stop expecting perfection and live with what is given to us. We are who we are and it is what it is. I love this quote by Mark Twain and I try to hold this thought in the most trying times. “Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” When we bring words of hope to others we lighten the darkness and make the mountains and valleys a little smoother. We bring the love of Christ and strengthen the hope which seems to have left those who are wandering in a human wasteland with no sign of change. They need our patience and Christ’s love in us. In Jesus we find our strength and we share by our actions His love. In reality we are serving Christ and when we see Christ in the stranger at the door, or in anyone we encounter, we can truly fill the room with joy because we know He is here and we are saved. We have this gift of Grace. It is a pure gift of God’s power offered freely when we need it, regardless of what we do or don’t do. It’s God’s decision. He offers it because he cares. There is no end to love. As you give it, the returns are doubled. It is like a smile. Be honest in your love. Everyone deserves a second chance. We can do this with God’s help. We remain faithful and thank you, Lord for Hope, peace, joy and love.
Lynn L’Heureux is Special needs co-coordinator & Advisor of the Society of St Vincent de Paul Calgary Alberta Canada
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