Praying Hands

A legend tells the story of two brothers without enough money to go to art school who made a pact. They would toss a coin and the loser would work the coal mines to pay tuition for the winner. When the winner had finished their studies they would switch roles. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to the Academy at Nuremberg while Albert went to the coal mines.

Upon finishing his studies Albrecht returned home for a feast. During the celebration Albrecht rose from his seat of honor to toast his beloved brother for his sacrifice. His closing words of the toast were, "And now Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat tears streaming down his pale face shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated over and over, "No"

Finally Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved and then holding his hands close to his right cheek he said softly, "No, brother, I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look! ...look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

Albrecht went on to create many masterful works of art but chances are you are most likely familiar with only one of them. One day to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands" but the world has renamed it and you may know it as "The Praying Hands".

None of us have made it to where were are today without help. Who has provided you with help to get where you are today?

What help will you need this season?

How will you honor them that provide the help?

What sacrifices can you make for others this season?