Learning to ‘see’ with my heart

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Two thousand years ago, something beautiful and earth-shattering happened. Jesus – God Himself – entered our world as a baby. Angels rejoiced that day. Shepherds exulted. Joseph was in awe. And Mary was filled with adoration. Yet, for all that, anyone passing by the place of his birth would have seen nothing more than a poor tradesman and his wife trying to make the best of a hard situation. That’s the difference between the quick glance that comes from every day “seeing” and the searching, penetrating vision that comes when we allow God to open the ‘eyes’ of our hearts, enabling us to experience his presence and work in our everyday lives. One sees something ordinary and moves on, while the other senses Jesus’ presence and kneels in worship, their hearts filled with joy.

During Christmas, we are invited to imitate Mary and Joseph and the shepherds as they gazed on the infant in the manger. We are invited to ‘see’ with our hearts; to go beyond what we see in our current circumstances or even what we ‘see’ in our memories of the past or imaginations of the future.

We can easily miss the opportunities God gives us each day! It’s easy to let the demands or the excitement of the day reduce me to “ordinary” seeing. To let the challenges of the present or the fear of the future or the pain of the past cloud my vision.

What can I do to take the opportunities that God gives me each day, to see with my heart? I’m finding it more and more important to pause and quiet my heart, if I really want to ‘see’ Jesus’ presence and action – to recognise his ‘coming’ in the everyday events of my life. Especially when I find my mind being drawn into dark places and I experience negative emotions of fear, anxiety, pressure, envy and so on, it becomes all the more important to turn to Jesus and ask him to help me to see with his eyes – to truly see from my heart.

I need to pause and not follow the urges of my heart, if they’re leading me to dark places. Rather, I need to create a quiet space in my heart, to connect with Jesus & not miss the opportunity. To give him the space to show me the gifts that He’s giving me and how he wants to fill the deepest longings of my heart. To allow him to heal the blindness of my heart, so I can truly see him & receive his love – that’s the place of Christmas joy, that we can find each day.

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Becoming honest in prayer

Very often when we talk of prayer, we think of polite conversation with God – saying the right words, the right formulas, in a certain tone of voice and so on. But prayer in the Bible is anything, but that. Just read the Book of Psalms for example, which is full of raw emotion expressed to God as prayer. This is because an important aspect of engaging with God from the heart in prayer, is learning to be honest with what’s coming up in our hearts. In today’s Bible reading, we find another example of honesty in prayer and hear how it’s also the place where we can find intimacy with God.

The longings of our heart

We’re all aware from time to time, of the deep longings of our heart – for love, significance, recognition, a sense of worth, belonging, freedom and so on. But what many of us are not aware of, are the ways in which the Bible speaks about this area. And how it’s such a crucial area of our hearts to which we need to pay attention, if we want to develop an intimate relationship with God.

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