Give me a soft heart, O Lord…


Give me a soft heart, O Lord…

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new Spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19.

Last December I decided to make our two daughters and five granddaughters heart pillows – soft, fuzzy, and squishable. Several trips to the fabric store and fourteen hearts later, [they each got two, one large, one small] my own heart was full. It was sheer delight to craft these symbols of my love for them and anticipate their reactions.

I was not disappointed. The pillows were the hit of the Christmas gifts and, to my surprise, our sons and grandsons each wanted some. They felt quite left out that I hadn’t made them their own hearts! Who knew?

It pleases me so much that the girls treasure them and that the boys want them: a visible sign of softness and love from their ‘Mom’ and ‘Nan.’

Softness. Maybe, just maybe, it is a quality we need right now.

I watch the news, hear the narratives, see the images of terror, war, poverty, homelessness, and discrimination. I wonder about hardened hearts that allow people to make decisions and act in ways that inflict violence and suffering on others.  “Where,” I think, “are the softened hearts, the hearts of gentleness, and tenderness?”

I look inward and wonder where my own heart might be hard, where I look or act with harshness, condemnation, or judgement. I think of people and situations where I have lost patience and lack forgiveness, and I wonder “Where does my own heart need to be softened?”

Advent is on our horizon, the special time of year when we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of our God into human form. It is worth remembering perhaps that God comes to us as newborn babe, vulnerable, needy, requiring above all else from us, our softness and care.

This Christmas, as well as sewing more hearts, I will be praying for a softened heart myself, and for world where the tender, loving compassionate heart replaces all our hearts of stone.

By Sandra Prather, HOMI