This is the fourth week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes. This week we light the candle of Love.
“How can it already be the fourth week of advent?”, I asked myself as I stared at my blank computer screen. Normally, I totally enjoy writing each advent post. I treasure the time reading my Bible, praying for guidance, contemplating my God, thinking of my family and friends who may read it, and pushing away all other distractions to focus on each theme. But this week found myself struggling. Which is absolutely CRAZY, since the advent theme of LOVE is usually one of the easiest to find in life everyday.
I know of God’s love. I have seen His handiwork in my life time and time again. I have known His forgiveness when I could not forgive myself. I have seen His love and provision for me when I did nothing to deserve it. I have witnessed His unconditional love through those He placed in my life. I may not know a lot of things, but I know God loves me! SO why is this post so hard?
I spent the last two weekends surrounded by love’s evidence.
We traveled to Florida to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday. My mom has always been a reflection of God’s love to everyone she knows. She was surrounded by family and friends who love her dearly. Meals were made, decor was set in place, laughter and conversations all gave evidence of love.
Scott and I joined our son and his wife as they celebrated the revelation of the gender of our next grand baby. Our daughter and her fiancé were able to be in town also. We had a “family Christmas” time together in the short visit of one night. It was such a blessing and my heart was overwhelmed with love.
Why then, was I sitting before a blank screen, my hands paused over the keys, my heart running through all of life’s most recent lessons. Nothing.
The scene was set for inspiration: Soft Christmas music, check. Bible open to Luke chapter 2, check. Coffee cup in hand, check. Pen and notebook at the ready, check. Prayer for words/wisdom/inspiration, check. Sigh, still NOTHING.
Of all the advent themes, LOVE, feels like it is perhaps the most important. The birth of Jesus Christ was great love. HIs arrival was the fulfillment of God’s love for us. His birth, His life, His ministry on earth, His death on the cross, and His resurrection were all because of God’s love for His creation. Because of all this, you and I can ask for forgiveness, be forgiven, know grace and be reconciled with God.
For what felt like the hundredth time in three days, I bowed my head and prayed…”Lord, what do I say, where do I look, what can I write…how can I move what is in my heart onto this post? It seems so insignificant, a blog post, but Lord I am here, I am at this computer…what now? Amen”
The “amen” in my head had no sooner closed my prayer, than a big fluffy head pushed itself onto my lap. Charlie, our floppy, furry Portuguese Water dog, is usually content to curl up beside me when I am at my computer. Today it seems he is was in need of a bit closer look at what I was doing. He pushed himself onto my lap, with no regard for the laptop that resided there at the time. I carefully closed it down and slid it from beneath him. I then gave him what he wanted, my attention. AND there it was…Attention.
I rubbed his wobbly noggin and silently thanked my God. The gift of God’s Son, our savior Christ Jesus, was a gift of absolute and underserved LOVE. This love demands attention, not just this advent week, but everyday, all year round. It is so easy to let something so powerful, impactful and precious become trite or taken for granted.
“God, thank you for loving us and sending Your son as redemption for our sins. Thank You for a love we cannot completely comprehend. Lord, help us to be attentive at all times, in every season, to the depth of Your love. Help us to reflect Your love to the world that all may give attention to this great gift. Amen”
Time for me to wrap this post up, my “reminder of God’s love” needs to go for a walk.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave His son, His one and only son. And this is why: So that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life..”
John 3:16 MSG