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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 1:1–8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

   “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way;
   the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (NRSV)

This story of John the Baptist reminds me that we are called to be patient and humble as we wait for Jesus’ coming. That, however, is easier said than done.

I am not a particularly patient or humble person by nature. In fact, over the past few years, those are two virtues I’ve been working hard to develop. As I’ve become more aware of them, I’ve found that the people I admire most in my life are those who are patient and who are quick to admit when they’re wrong. I’ve come to realize how much strength that takes and how much the people around them appreciate those traits.

I still have work to do to get to a point where I’m as patient and humble as I’d like to be, but as I’ve practiced and gotten better, I’ve noticed a couple of things. Most importantly, I’ve noticed an improvement in my relationship with God and with my friends, family, and colleagues. I’m less annoyed when things take longer than they should and more able to let the little things go. The other thing I’ve noticed surprised me. I’ve found that being more patient and humble has improved my relationship with myself too. I’m not as hard on myself when I make mistakes and I have a lot more energy. It turns out being impatient and prideful is fairly exhausting.

Loving God, as I prepare for the coming of your Son, help me to do so with patience and humility. Remind me that being impatient rarely makes anything happen faster and that it is more important to be loving than to be right. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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