It feels like December comes and goes so quickly – that before we know it, Christmas has past, the New Year and Epiphany are upon us, and we are in the throes of making and then breaking our New Year’s resolutions/intentions.
And every day we pray. We pray for unity for our country. We pray for the end of the pandemic, or at least an end to the misinformation that is fueling it. We are tired of people getting sick and filling our hospitals needlessly. Our first line healthcare workers are beyond tired; they are exhausted. They pray with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord? How long?”
And yet, we continue to do what love requires. We want to get back to “normal” or at least something that approximates normal if we can even remember what that looks like. Things have changed. Life has changed.
But it is Christmas! Love has come: a light in the darkness. These may seem to be dark times, but love is the gift of Christmas. Love. Not a shallow emotion, but a life-changing action. God is love, and because the Christ became incarnate, we have been shown what love looks like – and even more than that, what love acts like.
So, while we relish in the gifts that fade, and fail to astonish and inspire us, let us remember that love – and the One who embodied love for us – never fails to astonish or inspire us. As the hymnist, Ken Bible wrote in his hymn Love Has Come (110 in our hymnal, that we sang on Sunday, December 26th):
Love has come, and never will leave us!
Love is life everlasting and free.
Love is Jesus within and among us.
Love is the peace our hearts are seeking.
Love! Love! Love is the gift of Christmas.
Love! Love! Praise to you, God on high!
Love has come and never will leave us. That’s a New Year’s promise to hang onto! Love is not a notion, a potion, or an emotion – it’s a gift, it’s a promise, it’s what our hearts are seeking. It’s the true nature of God, and the essence of our salvation.
Friends, in this New Year – 2022, I wish you hope, peace and joy, but more than anything, I wish you love.
With blessings and love,