We are told the time of Advent is all about waiting. Waiting. Preparing. Quietly contemplating. So where does Love fit in?
Is there time for love? If I’m any example, my days are chock full and noisy. Dashing. Rushing. Juggling. Between working on a presentation—it’s, maybe, really good, but definitely really late; attending holiday performances for school—can I get to the MetLife plaza in time to hear my kid for yet another year; coordinating visiting family over Christmas—wait! I can’t sleep 8 additional people here, and you know “she” doesn’t get along with “her”; baking cookies—“No Mom! not Cinnamon Stars, we wanted Raspberry Thumbprints”; waiting for the cashier who’s taking his or her time—“so what do you do with fennel?”; end-of-year odds and ends—yikes, we’re out of gift wrap; and well, someone’s got to get dinner on the table (every night!). Where is the time for Love?
Is there the proper setting for love? The way the days go, are we ever in the right place for love? The office is sterile, the classroom is noisy, the kitchen is a mess, the sidewalk is crowded, the gym is sweaty, and well, the subway platform is crowded, and something doesn’t smell too good. Where is the place for Love?
Do I have the capacity to love? You mean you want more than I’m already giving. It’s not enough that I go to church on Sunday, that I write an extra check to a good cause, that I’m baking and buying and shopping, that I’m here for you! So I ask again, where does Love fit in?
I’m stuck on the wrong love. Here I am talking about drumming up and doling out more of the same. But we’re talking about a different kind of love altogether.
Advent offers us a sanctuary for a quiet moment of relationship to God amid the noise of the season. The coming of Christ is our sign of the presence of divine love in our lives, in our relationships, in our world, and in us. The coming of Christ is our marker of divine love.
How ironic that I and others take this season devoted to the birth of Christ and allow it to drown out just exactly that quiet contemplative love. Could the advent of divine love free me and free others from my self-centeredness? Might I then experience my own possibility for good will? It’s easy to love my friends, but not so easy to love the slow cashier, the demanding client, the pushy parents, the needy child, and the fetid masses.
At this Christmastime, as we experience the season, as we gather and celebrate the coming of Christ, let us feel divine love and pour out our love and receive love in worship, among friends, family, our global community, and our faith.