A friend of mine used to use her morning walk as prayer time. She had a beloved dog that needed daily walking so it seemed a natural centering time. She began her walks with confession. As she moved away from her house she’d list the areas of her life that needed attention and forgiveness. After she made the turn for home she’d switch to petition and eventually she’d move to praise, ending on a positive note. Describing her routine she said, “That walk away from home was a painful symbol of how far I’ve strayed from God.”
It’s never fun to admit when we’re wrong. As the people of God made their confessions in Nehemiah 9 I imagine the mood was heavy and the pain was difficult. Sitting with the knowledge that we’ve fallen short of the glory of God is not an easy burden to bear. However, realizing our need for God’s grace makes that grace all the more amazing to receive.
This time of year is mostly marked with joy and laughter as we move from one holiday activity to another. But we would do well to take time to pause and to consider our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness. Coming face to face with our mistakes makes receiving the gift of the Christ-child all the more powerful.
No matter how far away from God we stray we are always blessed with the invitation to turn back toward home – to receive the grace of God.
Rev. Rob Shrader is the pastor of Campbellsburg Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Henry County, Kentucky.
©2016 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.