The Fourth Sunday in Advent: Love

Lectionary readings for the fourth Sunday in Advent:

  • Micah 5:2-5a  •  
  • Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7  •  
  • Hebrews 10:5-10  • 
  • Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

  • The final Sunday in advent is when the candle of love is lit and I am reminded of one of my favorite Christmas anthems, "One Small Child" By Nancy Price and Donald Besig.  The anthem is simple and beautiful and ends with the phrase:  "Share the joy that comes this night in the love of one small child."  It captures in  my mind the image of a tiny babe swaddled and blissfully sleeping in a manger; surrounded by his radiant parents and peaceful barn animals.

    But how honest is that?  Traveling a long distance on a donkey and giving birth in a's messy; it's smelly.  It's not perfect.  But it IS love. 

    Throw out the idealized "love" of the season and realize that love is complicated and not like a beautifully wrapped present all tied up with a perfect red bow.  Love is expressed by swaddling a tiny baby that is screaming.  Love is expressed by caring for those who can't care for themselves.  As it says in 1 Corinthians: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

    God loves us and God is patient with us.  As imperfect humans, the best way we can reflect God's love is by patiently loving.  By not looking for the perfect, but by embracing the imperfect with love.

    Being true to Christmas means loving those who are not always lovable; caring for those who are not cared for.  Love was born in a stable; to celebrate the birth of this child of God, shouldn't we love and care for those who are most like him in whatever way we can?  It's not easy, but it IS love.

    Let the love of God shine in your heart and reflect it back out to the world. 


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