This Advent season of 2020 the focus is on rekindling the gift of God. We certainly need our spiritual grounding and the gifts of faith to sustain us during these difficult times.
There is a ritual for lighting the Advent wreath each Sunday. Then there is a reading for each day of the week based on the theme of the week’s candle.
May we rekindle the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love this Advent season!
Rekindle the Gift of Love
Lighting the Fourth Advent Candle – LOVE
In our homes we gather around wreaths to pray our lost hopes, broken peace, limited joys, and love so hard to find and share in this season of coronavirus. We affirm that our candles mean we claim the power to call this season Advent, when God’s light comes into the world and nothing can overcome it.
Light three candles.
We light the candles of hope, peace, and joy.
Light the fourth candle.
We now light the candle of love even when many things dim our flame of love.
name places, issues, concerns, and people that need the healing power of unconditional love
God’s love illuminates hatred with a compassionate heart and lights the wick of love in our lives so that we may shine on the world with the flame of unconditional love. Amen
Monday Dec. 21 LOVE
‘Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.’
1 John 4:8
This is a fundamental understanding of the Christian faith. God is love. We see that love in Jesus. And he reminds us that we, too, are created to love.
While this season may involve giving lots of gifts, and this year, that might involve sending lots of packages, here we pause. And we ask, How am I sharing love in the world? We are here to love, to be love, to give love. So how are we embodying that love to others? It may very well be in a wrapped gift, sent through the mail. But there is so much more than that.
And while we are thinking of the love we have to give and share, we need to think about how we are loving ourselves. How are we tending the flame of love within us?
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the birth of love, may we feel the love within us rekindled. And may we, too, birth love into the world. Amen.
Tuesday Dec. 22 LOVE
‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’
The verse above is the first time in the Bible that the word ‘love’ is used. And what a story! Abraham is told to take his only child, Isaac, into the wilderness as a sacrifice. Once at the site, a ram appears caught in the thicket and Abraham is told to sacrifice the ram and not his son. This brutal story is echoed in the story of God giving up Jesus as a sacrifice. Love is not all hearts and rainbows. Real love is messy. It involves sacrifice. It causes pain. To live a life of love does not mean a life that is pain-free. So while we celebrate love this season, we are aware that love involves pain and grief.
This year we especially remember families who have lost loved ones to covid and as well as other causes. We remember those who cannot be with loved ones. Much love. Much sadness.
Love is our primary purpose as human beings. We pray that we might give ourselves over to love, receive the gift, give the gift, even knowing it will involve pain and grief. To avoid pain we may deny our deepest humanity and the humanity of others. And that causes a different kind of suffering. May we remember that there is also healing and meaning and purpose and joy in love. Amen.
Wednesday Dec. 23 LOVE
‘This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.’
In Jesus, we see a love that crosses boundaries, builds bridges, and overcomes divisions and labels assigned by society. How we need that kind of love in our world and in our country now!
As we await the celebration of Christmas, these last few days of anticipation, may we remember that Christmas really is for everyone. Love is for everyone or it isn’t really love.
May we open ourselves to the love that is being given to the world at Christmas. May we remember that love is for everyone. No one is left out or forgotten. Amen.
Thursday Dec. 24 LOVE
‘And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’
1 Corinthians 13:13
It’s Christmas Eve. Maybe a happy time for you. Maybe a sad time. Maybe a festive time. Maybe more subdued. Maybe there is disappointment. Maybe gratitude. Maybe your feelings are mixed. Whatever you are feeling this Christmas Eve, look for the love. Maybe you have to dig a little. Maybe it’s covered or hidden. Maybe it’s not where you expected to find it. But search it out. Love is the heart of Christmas and it is most certainly present!
Whatever may please or disappoint this Christmas, may we look for the love. It is there. Everywhere. And it is the only thing that really matters. Amen.
Friday Dec. 25 CHRISTMAS DAY!
Celebrate the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that you are being given this Christmas!
List all the ways you are receiving these gifts today!