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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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To obtain our ultimate goal in life, we have to have many short term goals

To obtain our ultimate goal in life, we have to have many short term goals

If you’re planning a long road trip, you need to map out your final destination, your ultimate goal.

However, to get to that ultimate goal, you need to deal with all kinds of immediate goals. You must take this highway, and then that highway. Stay in this town, that city. Cross this mountain, that valley.

Though you are always keeping your final goal in mind, you may have to pay more attention to your short term goals, so that you will not get lost along the way.

We know that our ultimate goal in life is to be with God forever. To achieve this goal, we have to set many short terms goals as we travel on our journey. Repentance and hope are closely tied together. If we are going to be about the work of repentance, then we will need to have hope inside ourselves that things can be different – that we can be different.

Hope is an important part of life. Hope for the future – the distant future when God will fully establish the divine kingdom, and hope for the near future – the personal futures of our lives. One hope lives with the other hope, like a circle within a circle. Where does our hope for reconciliation lie? With whom do we need to be reconciled?

Imagine this scene. You family is gathered around the tree on Christmas Eve. All is peaceful. There is nothing between you – no hurts, no broken promises, no harsh words, no unspoken resentments. You can feel the bond of love between everyone.

Then you quietly think to yourself, “How did this come about?”

You remember to a decision you made several weeks ago that you would take the first step in any needed reconciliation. You knew that the easiest way to patch things up between you and others was to be an active agent. You took the first step and extended a hand of friendship. You wrote a letter to that brother who had hurt you deeply. You offered forgiveness and a hope for a renewed friendship. That led to this peaceful scene on a Christmas Eve.

Maybe some of you are saying to yourself, “Oh, sure, you obviously don't know my family.”

You’re right, I don’t know your family, but I do know that God has asked us not to give up. Always reach out with a merciful heart.

Maybe later the other person will be ready to accept your outreach. Perhaps not. That’s out of your control. Yours is to offer in a genuine spirit of reconciliation and friendship. That is what the feast of Christmas is all about.

Therapist Harville Hendrix invites couples to work out what he calls “Your Relationship Vision.” The purpose of the exercise is to help the people see the potential in their relationship. He invites couples or partners to write each sentence as if it were already true. Here is a partial example of a relationship vision which one couple wrote. Remember it is a vision of what could be.

We express our feelings and ideas clearly and directly.

We are compassionate listeners and passionate lovers.

We forgive the past, look forward to the future, and live the present.

We give each other space to grow.

We pray alone, together and with others.

We are financially secure and share our wealth.

Our fights are clean and have closure.

The exercise is based on the philosophy that “a shared vision is essential to a successful relationship.”

God has given us the power to change. This Christmas could be our most meaningful Christmas if we allow Jesus to come fully into our lives, touching every dark corner and every secret place we have harbored over the years. May we all allow the Lord to be born again – this time in our hearts.