Welcome readers on this Hump Day. Not sure what your middle-of-the-week brings you, but for us it is the anticipation of a new stove-top and range hood! Yep, this is Al and my gifts to each other for Christmas—definitely romantic don’t you think? Speaking of renovating, I encourage you all to go on my website: ontheroadchaplain.com to see a whole lot of new photography I have just put up. Hit my latest blog on living as a camp host and you’ll see some of the beauty of northern NM and Colorado, and of course, new pics of our new puppy who is more like a pony, Moose-the Great Dane/Labrador!! OK, on with the devotion.

Renovating, however, is something that for the past 10 years and still going, has captured our society. HGTV, The Magnolia Network, plus others have been our “TV-watching-go-to” when there seems to be nothing interesting on TV. We love it, it inspires us in a variety of ways, especially when a group gets together to help someone in need. You go from “run-down-tiny-house” to a roomy house that is functional and safe.

Our favorite time of watching these renovation stories is “demo-day!” The Gaines have us laughing as Chip digs into tearing things apart. Sometimes the home-owners step in and help and more laughter ensues when they try to swing a sledge hammer, etc. We’ve done a lot of renovation ourselves and we admit, it is very satisfying but there is one caveat that always happens: it is quicker to demolish than it is to renovate!

I want to use this ‘caveat’ as something powerful in our spiritual lives. As quickly as one can rip up a carpet or break down walls, etc., it takes a longer time to put it back together and that is way too common today in how we treat one another. One ugly word to tear someone down and the damage has been done. No amount of nails, glue, or gorgeous architecture can heal the damaged heart.

Peter gave us a great example about this in his first letter (1 Peter 3:8-12 Message):

“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.
That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm.
Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do:
                 ‘Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good;
                                run after peace for all you’re worth.’  

God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked;
but God turns his back on those who do evil things.”

What do we do? Like renovating a home, it is going to take a lot of time, effort, focus, and care. Sometimes the damage is too much and you can’t undo the words said. That’s when you get into big-time-prayer-mode, and rest in the goodness of God to help the wounder and the wounded.

Al and I enjoy Brett Waterman’s approach to rebuilding old homes. Many are over 100 years old, but watching how he tenderly takes care of old doors, windows, fireplaces, etc. is amazing. He puts his heart and mind into it so the owners can have a home to love and nest in. To me, that is a signal in how we hope to “renovate” a broken heart—we can only do it with grace and love for only grace and love can rebuild what our words have destroyed.

Whether you’ve been the wounder or you are the wounded, the best way you can find peace in your heart and strength will be if you embrace grace and love in your rebuilding. As we go into this Christmas season, it can be crazy, especially if we love the stuff of this world. Families ties and holiday dinners are ripe for someone to “swing the hammer” and hurt another. Before that even happens, we need to seek the wisdom of the Master Builder—Jesus, who is the only one that can restore and make something beautiful out of what has been demolished.

Perhaps this Advent as we await the joyous celebration of Jesus coming into our world, would be the perfect time to pray for the grace to build up those we have hurt and to forgive those who have hurt us. Let Jesus renovate the broken into the beautiful—image how that would make such a difference for us all? Might be the best Christmas ever? AMEN!