Monday, December 24, 2012

Living Love

I slipped in the door without knocking because they were expecting me. Since everyone else had arrived the meal had began. The living room was bursting with warm yellow tones and flaxen rays of sun were streaming through the glass of the large west window. 

For some reason I just stood there to soak it all in. Her home was decorated with holiday details. Laughter drifted softly from the dining room carried along with the smell of fresh baked dinner rolls. The clatter of passing bowls full of steaming food and chink of silverware against plates accented the children's squeals and grandpas voice complimenting the cook on how good things tasted.

And then more laughter. 

This is what makes my heart full. This home filled with acceptance.  Unguarded conversation. The sharing of a meal. The gift of laughter. People gathered in love.

Pastor John has been teaching these last four weeks on the advent.

Advent ...the coming of Christ.

Each week has featured gifts that Jesus brought with Him.  Gifts like hope, wisdom and joy. This final Sunday the focus was on His gift of love.

The kind of love that the Bible talks about.

The kind of love that we all long for, yet few really know how to live.

In 1 Corinthians it speaks clearly of what this looks like. And the verses are so familiar that I run over them too fast most times. But these words describes what it really looks like to love God as we love others.

Love builds others up and isn't easily annoyed. This real love doesn't see ourselves as more important than others. It doesn't envy what people have or keep a running list of how they have failed. It isn't easily offended.

The Jesus-kind-of-love, puts up with, believes in, hopes for and endures all things the very end.

Love that is a choice not a feeling. The kind of love that is displayed if we really believe that God. is. who. He. says. He. is. 

The kind of love most of us have been denied at some point and the reminder of that usually comes creeping forward from the shadows. Especially this time of year. 

Sunday they turned the lights out. We sat in the darkness to just soak it all in.

The darkness that exists in the world if we don't live this kind of love.

Then Pastor John lit one candle. And two men kindled a flame from that flickering wick. Each of those flames were offered to another. From the back it spread forward and out of the darkness there came this warm glow that engulfed the dark. Each person cupped there own flame and it felt like a hot glowing body who didn't hide their light but held it high. 

That's what the love Jesus brought to earth ..looks like.

We who believe. We have this responsibility to begin like a small fluttering flame to respond differently to those who hurt us.   Misunderstand us. Leave us out. Speak untrue things about us.

Then we press into Jesus.

Because He is enough.

He is for us not against us.

He knows how it feels because he lived it too. 

And still He lived love.  


The gift wrapped in swaddling clothes. Once born he was placed in a rough wood manger.

Even as he lay in the stable there was the whisper of how he would someday learn to walk ...all the way to the wooden cross of Calvary.

Because of love. 

This Christmas.

May everything fade but the flame that we hold out to others. Hope in the form of Jesus who is our Savior and our example of how to live love.   

Merry Christmas. 

I love you deeply. 

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