The last week of Advent is all about love
Amy and I have been talking about how our books, The Circle of Seasons and Living the Christian Year, present the weekly themes of Advent a little differently. Living the Christian Year talks about the gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The Circle of Seasons puts these gifts into action: Wait, Prepare, Rejoice, Love.
This, the fourth week of Advent, is all about love.
Love. It is what we all really want, deep down. And it is the loss we grieve when relationships are broken or we mourn a death. Love keeps hope alive, brings peace, and makes us rejoice. Life is all about love.
I have been already mourning a loss that hasn’t come yet. I am grieving the leaving I will have to do, next summer. Again. Since my dad was a Marine and my hubby has been a USAF dentist for almost 14 years, I should be used to leaving. I have been doing it most of my life. But leaving doesn’t really get easier the more you do it, just different.
I have left behind friends, homes, churches, and favorite places. And most of these tend to fade into memory. Change can be hard. And moving is a reminder that everything on earth is temporary.
Grieving this move ahead of time has dashed my hopes, stolen my peace, and blocked my joy. When you spend too much time in grief, everything gets turned upside down. And you forget the love.
This time I am intentionally trying to learn a new way of leaving. I want to stop grieving and start loving. I want to love the mountain view outside my window up to the last morning I wake to see it. I want to love the fellowship at our wonderful church all the way up to the last Sunday we spend there. I want to love the beautiful friends that God has given us here up to the last playdate, the last coffee hour, and the last dinner together. I want to leave here totally loving it. Because being here has been a wonderful gift.
What are you grieving as this year draws to a close? What has dashed your hope, stolen your peace, or blocked your joy? I think that instead of marinating in grief, running on anger, or hiding in anxiety we need love. And we need to love.
Love is a gift. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]” (James 1:17, AMP).
Love is an action. “Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words]” ( 1 John 3:18, AMP).
Advent is the coming of Christ, the coming of love. God sent Jesus to brings us into a love relationship with Him. And this relationship comes with benefits, gifts. Among other things we have been given:
Hope…We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf (Hebrews 6:19-20, ESV).
Peace…I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33, ESV).
Joy…You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11, ESV).
The foundation of all of these gifts is love. God’s love is our greatest gift. He loves us with an everlasting and generous love. He is committed to us with a bond that can’t be broken. Knowing God’s devotion to us grows a great love in us—we can love God, we can love others, and we can love our lives, lives of hope, peace and joy.
Knowing God’s love doesn’t mean all the messes of life get cleaned up, but it means having a better perspective about them. Love allows us to have joy when we grieve. It is love that give us peace when there is chaos. It is love that brings hope at the darkest hour.
Christians aren’t promised the absence of trouble, but that we would have God’s companionship amidst it. That’s my favorite thing about the Advent of Christ—knowing the security that we will never be alone. His Name is Immanuel, God with Us.
God Bless you and Merry Christmas—it’s practically here!