Advent in a Pandemic (4)

Week 4: Love, December 20th, 2020

This week Mary’s Magnificat joins us in the lectionary. It is the week of love and she sings a song that is so full of love. Love is a lot bigger, tougher, and more resilient than what it often gets credit for. 

Love looks for how to be in right relationship with our own souls – it asks each of us– are we living into our best selves? 

Love looks for how we are in relationship with our neighbor (human and nonhuman neighbors). How are we living such that we are creating space for the flourishing of our neighbors, that they may have the space to be their best selves. 

Love looks at how we are in relationship with the One who created us and who is the source of love. Love always creates space and invites us into it; it never makes spaces smaller. 

When the Christ child came, we got to see love embodied. We were able to know what it looks like to choose love over power. We got to see a Savior who did not sit upon a throne and wish to be called “Caesar,” instead he fed us and said “I am the bread of life.” This is not a kind of love, it is love. Love is not superficial, fleeting, or fickle; love is steadfast and life-changing. It will not abide evil systems of power. It will not abide abuse. It will not abide greed. And the most important thing to remember about love is that love never fails. Find your hope in that. 

In your journaling this week, consider the following: 

    What does love look like in a pandemic world? 

    What lessons from love did you learn this year that you want to carry

        over to 2021? 

    How has your love for God, for your neighbor(s), and for yourself 

        created space this year? 

    What do you wish you had done differently this year? Where

        have you failed to love? Are there amends to be made before the new

        year begins? 

Draw a picture in your journal of what love has looked like this pandemic year for you.

For a New Beginning by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

[John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space between Us (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 14.]

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