I can’t believe this is the 4th week of Advent. Time has gone by quickly. I apologize for not keeping up with the Advent series I had mentioned 4 weeks ago. I got sidelined by a head cold that didn’t want to get lost. As a result my to-do list got longer, my schedule got busier, and I grew tired. The blog took a back seat to more pressing and necessary obligations.
Hopefully you’ve had a wonderful Advent season. Re-learning the story of Christ’s purpose for coming to us here on earth never grows old. Each year I learn something new and I see passages that I’ve read many times in a new light.
Love is a difficult verb and noun to understand. In the English language the word love is used to describe our feelings about things from clothing, food, and movies, to family, crushes, and spouses.
The never ceasing love that God continuously gives us is one that I can’t claim to understand fully. I get that God loves us, His creation, His children, but I have never understood it at a deeper level. I have experienced God’s love, but can’t define it. God’s love for us is one of the mysteries of our faith, perhaps it is the biggest mystery.
John 3:16 tells us that God gave us His son because He loves us and this love brought Jesus to us, not to condemn us, but to save us. God’s love for us is a love that saves us; how powerful is that!
I will confess, loving others as Christ loves us is my biggest challenge in life. Jesus tells us that loving God means loving ourselves and loving others (Luke 10:26-27). Loving God is directly connected to loving our self and others, they cannot be separated. If we don’t love God, we will not be able to love anyone else.
The four themes of Advent are all interconnected: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. These four nouns and verbs are directly tied to our faith in God. Our spiritual disciplines help us to develop these character traits that God places in our hearts through our faith in Him.
If you are like me and you continue to fail at loving every single person you know and encounter, don’t give up. Remember, God said Christ was sent to save us, not to condemn us. As believers we don’t share, spread joy, and love others as a holiday, for us it is a year round faith-based, character building lifestyle. We stumble, God corrects us. We fail, God forgives us. We forget, God reminds us.
This week, I encourage you to take some time to think about the four themes of Advent and your spiritual disciplines.
How have you grown in each of these areas during 2015?