A Prayer of Renewal

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Advent marks a time of contemplation. It’s an opportunity to look back at the past year and see if I am still on the right path, if I am making progress towards my goals. It’s also a time to look forward and to ask myself if I am striving for the right goals. With God I have achieved much this past year, and with God here by my side, I can do even more. But have I always stayed by His side? Have I strayed from the path? Today’s Gospel helps me to see more clearly. It gives me the focus to see that there is only one Messiah in my life. All those people and activities I mistakenly idolize are not the King I want to follow. If God is truly to be first in my life, Sunday worship needs to be more important than the big game, the trip to the mall, grocery shopping, and even needs to come before visiting with the grandkids.

I think John the Baptist understood my frustration with my life when he declared that he baptized with water, but the true prophet walked among us, as of yet unrecognized. Water refreshes and cleanses, and lets us start anew. Once that happens, we are free to open ourselves to Christ. In the same manner, taking time out to reconsider my life’s journey allows me the chance to start over, refreshed by the Spirit and anticipate the joy of being back in step with Jesus.

It’s a formidable proposition, however. If I didn’t do it right last year, and the year before, and the year before that, what makes me think I can do better this year? But John assures me that one is coming who can help me. I need help for sure. I have proved that I can’t succeed without help. I’m grateful that with God by my side, everything is possible. In the wilderness of our lives, this renewal of baptism, this contemplation and anticipation actively prepares the way for the coming of the Lord back into our daily lives. That’s what Advent is about – ending the waiting and actively seeking the Christ who is our guide, the light for our troubled world.

A Prayer of Renewal
Lord, you know that I need to start over. I have failed in so many ways,
I just don’t have the foundation I need.
My only hope is to start over, with You as my foundation.
I say this every week, every day, every year but somehow I always make the same mistakes.
As long as I am just me, trying to do it by myself, I think I will have problems.
I need to start over. Every day I need to start over.
Help me to see that each day IS a new day, and that I don’t have to tackle life alone.
You are with me. You are available to be my foundation, I just need to ask,.
So, dear Lord, I am asking you now.
Help me, please, help me again to begin anew.

Linda Crowley