The theme for the fourth week of Advent is Love. John Lennon sang, “all you need is love.” Bing Crosby sang, “Love makes the world go ‘round.” (Don’t be judging my music choices.)
Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself. These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” (Matthew 22:37-40 MSG)
We often hear or say that love is a two way street but as Jesus’ Followers we know that love is about a three-way relationship (I guess we’ll need flying cars before we can say three way street?) and that it isn’t transactional.
When Jesus gives us the Greatest Commandment, “Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself” he shows us that love includes all involved. We can’t fully accept God’s love for us without revealing God’s love for others through our behaviors, thoughts, and actions. That’s how God’s love works – it fills every cell in our body and overflows to those around us.
Our model for loving others is God’s love for us. There are no caveats to God’s love. God doesn’t love us “because” we are worthy or have earned it or are good looking enough and definitely not because of what we can do for God. God love us. Period. Full stop. Each of us. Each and every human being ever created, past, present, future. From this ‘peg’ as Eugene Peterson puts it, hangs all else. This is the true foundation of our lives.
God love us so much that God came in the form of Jesus to be with us in the every day, ordinary moments of this life on earth so that we can learn what it is to love as God loves (on earth as it is in heaven). This is what we celebrate at Christmas; this is what we have been preparing for through the season of Advent.
When we come to know God’s love for us, we discover the true peace of knowing that regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, God is with us, loving us, guiding us.
When we learn to love ourselves because we know God loves us, we discover the joy of belonging as God’s beloved children.
When we let God’s love flow through us to others, we understand the hope that through this divine love, the world is made a better place because we participate with God in answering the prayer “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
LOVE. PEACE. HOPE. JOY.
This is the intricately woven tapestry of God’s kingdom; bringing light to even the darkest of days; revealing beauty in the most dismal of places; bringing life as God intends for us to live it as divine children.
Give yourself a gift in these last hours before Christmas: make time to sit quietly and say to yourself “I am God’s beloved child.” Say it over and over again. Let God’s love come to you and transform your view of this world and every person you encounter.
Together with God we walk this journey of Love, following Jesus and shining light so others can see The Way and join us. There’s always room for more.
All we need is love because God’s love really does make the world go ‘round as God created it.