An Advent Journey: When God Became Small — Day Ten


Ezekiel 36:24-28, NRSV

I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

I kind of look for hearts. Yeah, it’s a weird little thing of mine. I love them. And on our recent vacation, I was watching some birds as they took baths in a small birdbath nearby and right next to me was this vine. And lo and behold, if I didn’t spy a small heart-shaped hole, left there by some local insect. Can you find it in the picture?

When I add a heart-shaped rock to my collection, or use a stick to make a heart in the sand, or cut a heart out of colored paper to give to one of my grandgirls, I think of this verse.

A new heart. And not a heavenly heart, either. A heart of flesh. A soft heart, a real heart, a love-filled heart. That’s the business God is in, friends. Making us as beautifully human as possible. TRULY human. Looking more and more like Jesus.

Thank you for this promise, O Lord. For the beauty of your transforming work in us and through us. Remind us that our hearts are designed to be soft and tender, not hard and impregnable. As we move closer to that stable, help us to open our hearts, to take a risk here or there, a risk on love.

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  1. I have been thinking about my heart this week as Christmas things trigger memories that are heart-hurting.
    I realized that I’ve wrapped my heart so tightly to keep from hurting that instead, I hurt all the more. A paradox, yes? I’m working to let Him in to ‘bind up my broken heart’.

    You know, I see two hearts – side by side. One rather perfect and one rather lopsided…

    • Ah, yes. The old pain protection bit. Way too familiar with that – and so, so sorry it’s part of your story. And the Lord does good binding, Elaine. Praying for you as you continue to work through it all. And you’re right!! There is a lopsided one, there too. Good eye.

  2. A friend of mine looks for (and when possible, collects) hearts. She has lots of heart-shaped stones she’s collected at the Great Lakes and smaller Michigan lakes. Thank God for the new heart. The heart of stone was too heavy to live with–I could feel its weight even while young, when I reached out for that new heart.

    At a special place we love to camp in Florida, the sand is white and in a few places, glittery white stones–whiter than any bleach on earth can bleach–can be found if I scoop and sift. I used to carry one of those around for years, to remind me of the white stone (with a new name) promised in Revelation. I look forward to that.

  3. One of my most favorite promises, Diana. Thanks for the reminder. The best part is that God does not just give me a new heart, brush his hands, say ‘job well done,’ and walk away. Every time my heart gets sick, or dirty, or broken, He is right there to heal it up again and make it new. I love your insights. This one is special for me.