On the Eighth Day of Christmas …

Happy eighth day of Christmas and New Year’s, Y’all!

On the eighth day of Christmas, Yahweh gives to us: Love.

You may be asking yourself, “Self, why did Mother Nancy throw Love in the middle, why not make it the first gift?” And my honest answer is, “I don’t know.” As I sat down to write these, I penned the gifts as they came to mind. I did at one point look at rearranging them but the order just felt right and then when I realized that our conversation on love would be New Year’s Day, it just felt right so I let the order be.

Love is the foundation of our relationship with God. God created us through the abundance of divine love giving us the ability to love our Creator Parent, each other, and ourselves. Everything else we talk about radiates from this Love.

God’s presence on this earth is revealed through acts of love. Jesus tells us that others will know we follow him not by where we were born, or the way we dress or the car we drive or our bank account balance, not even by the church we attend or how often we attend, but by LOVE.

Love, as Jesus teaches us how to live it, is action and choices and intentionality. It isn’t the love of greeting cards or dating apps or those so called reality shows that serve up other people on a menu.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says the opposite of love isn’t hate but self-centeredness. Love is putting others before ourselves. Love is setting aside our individual wants (we all know the difference of needs and wants, right?) for the greater good of all.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Jesus Followers in Corinth says, “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.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)

Love, as Jesus teaches us to love, is choosing to give all that we are and all that we have as we participate with God in living on earth as it is in heaven.

So, on this eighth day of Christmas and New Year’s Day, let’s commit to continuously learning to love as Jesus loves. We don’t know what this new year has in store but we do know that God is with us, loving us so that regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we have an endless supply of love (and all the other gifts God gives) for others and ourselves, as we follow Jesus.

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