Lately, I have encountered a lot of people who claim to be atheist and who reject the very idea of God or even a higher power. Many of these people have had very difficult religious experiences growing up so their idea of God is very different than mine. To be honest, I don't believe in the God that was presented to them either. What I find is that it is very difficult for these people to reframe God or to think of God in a different way than what was taught to them and what was used to control and even abuse them in some cases. I believe that we are called to be part of the healing process in these situations and not just try to convince them of something different. Healing comes from within and as people heal they can begin to think about things differently. While people are hurt, it is very difficult, if possible at all to convince them of a different reality with arguments. The model of evangelism we have encountered in the Age of Reason has been to convince people of God instead of loving people to God. Doing evangelism this way is difficult because we don't receive instant gratification and often don't ever see the results of our effort, but in my experience it has been the most effective way to help someone know God's love and grace. As we celebrate Advent and soon, Christmas, let's prepare a place for God by loving those around us in the best ways that we know how.