“Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional
memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child.
This is a healing memory; it brings hope.”
Pope Benedict XVI
(mother’s kitchen funnel has seen better days / Julie Cook / 2018)
This pitiful image of what was once my mother’s kitchen funnel, that I have
obviously “loved” to death by overuse and wash, always reminds me of the hat of
the head of the tinman from the Wizard of Oz…
albeit a kitchen funnel and not an oil funnel.
Who can forget Jack Haley singing…if I only had a heart…
When a man’s an empty kettle he should be on his mettle,
And yet I’m torn apart.
Just because I’m presumin’ that I could be kind-a-human,
If I only had heart.
I’d be tender – I’d be gentle and awful sentimental
Regarding Love and Art.
I’d be friends with the sparrows …
and the boys who shoots the arrows
If I only had a heart.
Picture me – a balcony. Above a voice sings low.
Wherefore art thou, Romeo? I hear a beat…
Just to register emotion, jealousy – devotion,
And really feel the part.
I could stay young and chipper
and I’d lock it with a zipper,
If I only had a heart.
Wizard Of Oz – If I Only Had A Brain/Heart/Nerve Lyrics
If I only had a heart…
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
To remove the heart of stone and receive the heart of flesh…
And so it seems on that fateful day when an apple was received and in turn eaten,
two hearts grew hard…
spawning a spiraling outward of generational stone hardened hearts.
Yet all the while the mind deludes, claiming otherwise.
The mind convinces the heart to remain closed and hardened,
otherwise, there will be pain, weakness, and vulnerability…
C.S Lewis says it this way…
“There is no safe investment.
To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one,
not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements;
lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.
It will not be broken;
it will become
The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers
and perturbations of love is…
Yet it was the famed English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who had previously addressed this
notion of the heart of stone.
“Spurgeon surmised that the stony heart is, specifically:
not easily softened and utterly senseless.
He said the person with the hard heart is “Satan’s throne.”
And he said the hard heart is “impervious to all instrumentality,”
In a sermon delivered in 1887 Spurgeon addresses the hardened heart:
Hardness of heart is a great and grievous evil.
It exists not only in the outside world,
but in many who frequent the courts of the Lord’s house.
Beneath the robes of religion many carry a heart of stone.
Nothing good can come out of a stony heart;
it is barren as a rock.
To be unfeeling is to be unfruitful.
Prayer without desire,
praise without emotion,
preaching without earnestness — what are all these?
Like the marble images of life, they are cold and dead.
Yet he reminds us that all is not lost.
The Holy Spirit makes us like wax, and we become impressible to his sacred seal.
Remember, you that are hard of heart, that your hope lies this way;
God himself, who melts the icebergs of the northern sea,
must make your soul to yield up its hardness in the presence of his love.
Nothing short of the work of God within you can effect this.
“Ye must be born again,” and that new birth must be from above.
The Spirit of God must work regeneration in you.
He is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham;
but until he works you are dead and insensible.
Even now I perceive the goings forth of his power:
he is moving you to desire his divine working,
and in that gracious desire, the work has already begun.
Note next, that as this tenderness comes of the Spirit of God,
so it also comes by his working in full co-operation with the Father and with the Son.
We hear the Father say, “I will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace,”
And so it is from that same genealogical house–the house of David which is born the Grace
which is our hope from the impenetrable death found in the stone cold heart.
It is a hope found in the genealogical line from Abraham, to David, to the Christ.
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David,
fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon,
and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. (Matthew 1:17)
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and
was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. (Luke 2:4-7)
And so the genealogical line of hardened hearts, hearts which once seemed destined to reside
closed for all time and destined to spend an eternity in Hell,
will be broken…broken by the gift found in a genealogical line of hope,
the gift found in the birth of a single child…
And a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6)
Leading once stone hardened hearts, now broken by Grace, to healing found only in Salvation.