ADVENT21: What is Love?

by Lenny & Denise, illustration by Alicia Lim

Is Christmas Just Another Event We Prepare For Every Year?

“Sian, we can’t hang out together for Christmas again this year…”

“Christmas is going to be quite boring with all these restrictions…”

Anything that is important is worth preparing for. We prepare for exams, job interviews, our wedding, etc. For many of us, Christmas is yet another event we prepare for every year. We plan parties and buy gifts for our loved ones. This year, we may have heard such remarks (or something to that effect) from those around us. The thought of spending Christmas being isolated in our homes away from each other (again) leaves many feeling bummed and for many of us, love might be the last thing on our minds.

What is at the Heart of Christmas?

Yet at the heart of it, Christmas is really about heralding the birth of Christ as king and consequently as the King of our lives. Rather than allowing our circumstances and distractions to get in the way of our preparations for Christmas, let us hold on to the unchanging truth of this season – the celebration of God’s love for us through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The question then, is how do we prepare for this?

What do we Prepare for during Advent?

Today, we invite you to consider that the season of Advent – a season of preparation – is a careful preparation of your heart to receive God’s love for you. Instead of losing ourselves in the external preparations of Christmas (e.g. decorating our homes, wrapping gifts and listening to Christmas carols), the real goal of Advent is to prepare ourselves interiorly to welcome Jesus into our lives again.

Jesus’ Invitation For Us to First Receive Him

This Advent, we are reminded that Jesus desires to love all of us – every thought, every feeling, every joy and every sorrow. Rather than being preoccupied with all the decorations and spring cleaning, He wants us to simply receive all of Him. As a couple, this means setting aside time to be still with Christ and letting ourselves be loved by Him. Even as we seek to express our love for those around us through gifts and gatherings, Jesus invites us to first receive Him. He is love made flesh – the most precious gift of all.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:7-9

Allow God come into the Quiet of Our Hearts & Homes Amidst the Pandemic

Just as Jesus’ entrance into the world was without any pomp, with only his earthly parents present in the manger, perhaps the ‘stripping’ of Christmas parties this year is an invitation to allow Jesus into our quiet ordinary homes too. In the emptiness that is left, may we have more space to be filled with God’s love for us. As we look forward to Christmas, may our experience of this day not be based on the number of people or parties we can have, but by how deeply we receive Jesus’ love in our hearts and homes. This year, may the message of this unchanging truth resound more loudly in our lives for all to see! 🙂

 


 

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