“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God…for God is love.”
1 John 4:7-8
Picture it: I walk to the store on December 27th to pick up a few groceries. I’m still humming Christmas carols and I’m emitting a bit of a Christmas glow. To my horror I see that the Seasonal aisle is filled with rows and rows of heart-shaped candy boxes! What is this? Valentine’s Day merch already? We went from stable to star to heart-shaped boxes of candy pretty quick!
I tried to resist the urge to be cynical. After all, I still have the Christmas glow. How can I wiggle this around to see good? Well, I totally believe that Jesus came to teach us about love…what love looks like in the world…how God loves us and wants us to pass that love onto each other. I guess seeing rows and rows of hearts in the store aisle can remind us of that? No matter how we paint it, the world tends to move us in the direction of supply and demand—at warp speed. But we don’t have to see the way the world sees. Maybe we can just try to see love where the hearts are.
This was certainly a different Christmas this year. I spent Christmas Eve alone, with a fire in the fireplace and our worship service on my computer. I could never have predicted that would happen or especially that I would embrace it and feel such deep and rich feelings during it. It was lovely. What does that say about love coming at Christmas? It means that love doesn’t come in a box. Or from the store. Or even through external circumstances. Love comes from inside. It’s always there but we just need to tap into it and relish it. Maybe the wee infant in the manger reminds us of God’s infinite love for us. Who doesn’t see love when they see a new baby? Maybe gathering with friends and family remind us of how loved we are. Or maybe we can just sit in the fire glow and feel God’s love inside. Whatever it is at Christmas time that helps us tap into the vast love of God is worth celebrating—long beyond the time Christmas gear is on the store shelves.
So, we’ve already moved into a new merchandise season…let’s embrace the hearts as a reminder of God’s deep love for us. Let’s bask in it and share it with all we meet. We can go from stable to star to hearts as long as we can remember the source of all is the love of God! The stable may go dark and the star blends in with the other stars in the night sky. But God’s love is never ending and is always deep in our hearts. May we see hearts everywhere!
Gracious God who gives us hearts filled with your love…
Please help us to see your love everywhere, even after the trappings of Christmas are long put away. Please open our hearts to all and may the Spirit of love enter everything we do…