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Advent Week 3: Love with April Casperson

Lord, you’ve been kind to your land;
you’ve changed Jacob’s circumstances for the better.
You’ve forgiven your people’s wrongdoing;
you’ve covered all their sins. Selah

Show us your faithful love, Lord!
Give us your salvation!
Let me hear what the Lord God says,
because God speaks peace to God’s people and to God’s faithful ones.
Don’t let them return to foolish ways.
God’s salvation is very close to those who honor God
so that the Lord’s glory can live in our land.
Faithful love and truth have met;
righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth springs up from the ground;
righteousness gazes down from heaven.
Yes, the Lord gives what is good,
and our land yields its produce.
Righteousness walks before God,
making a road for God’s steps.

Psalm 85:1-2, 7-13 (CEB)

Oftentimes when we talk about the love of God we use comparisons from our everyday lives – we talk about love and relationships in terms of traditionally understood relationships – marriage, parents, children, and the like. Those relationships are – in the best of circumstances – excellent ways of understanding a glimpse of what God’s love for us is like.

But sometimes when we rest upon those familiar relationships to help us understand God’s love, we overlook other places in our lives where God’s love is reflected. In our communities, it’s sometimes not as expected to speak of the love and care we may have for each other outside of our immediate family. But oftentimes it is in those relationships that you can see a glimpse of the active, relentless love that God has for us, in how we care for each other.

Think about the adult in the church who treats the younger generation as his or her daughters and sons. Think about the consistent presence of the pastor with a congregation in seasons of abundance and seasons of challenge. Think about the service and witness of the deacon as he or she leads the church community in service to the community. Think about the teenager who is encouraged in love to take a leadership role in the church in response to her growing faith in Christ.

All of these examples are reflections of how God loves us. Our God is an active God, a God of love and mercy, a God that welcomes, encourages, forgives, sends forth – and the One who loves us in every stage of our faith journeys. The Psalmist lifts up God’s love as something inseparable from God’s faithfulness, God’s truth, God’s presence among us. God’s love for us is unfailing, and the relationships we have in all areas of our lives can be a reflection of the care and grace we have received in Christ.

This Advent season, as we think about the perfect love God had for God’s Child, I invite you and I invite myself to reflect upon God’s active, engaging love for us and for all of creation. Where have you experienced a glimpse of God’s love for you in the love present in your relationship? How does the faith community demonstrate love and care for one another through word and service? Where is God nudging you to bring more love into your relationships?

Let’s pray.

Gracious One,
We wait in anticipation for the coming of the Christ child.
As we look for the evidence of Your love in our lives,
Help us listen to You as you nudge us into spreading Your love with all.
We pray in joyful anticipation
As we await the coming of the Christ child.
Amen.