Love comes down, from Heaven to earth, in a Divine Leap of Joy at Christmastime. God leaves the heavenly throne and rests his head as the Son in a manger because there was no room for him elsewhere. How often do we miss Love? Do we seek to find the Divine Lover in all things or are we simply too busy, too distracted, too tired, too grumpy, too angry, too heartbroken, too whatever it is you might be experiencing this moment to see the One-Who-Left-EVERYTHING for you, for me, for us?
God came down to earth in human form. A Divine Being slipped on skin and joined us for 33 years. He lived, breathed, laughed, loved, wept, got angry, probably pulled the covers over his head some days, longing to rest just a few minutes longer. He had friends. He went to synagogue. He broke bread with his family. He was an obedient child.
He did all of this because two humans took notice of the Divine. First Mary, when Gabriel visited her, found the courage to believe what was being asked of her and raised her yes. Then Joseph who would learn of her pregnancy, also spoke his yes to the Divine, taking her as his wife. Both were probably bewildered. The Divine asked big of them. They answered large too–no whispering of yes and then backtracking. Were they all in from the beginning? I am sure they had their doubts and fears along the way but they stayed the course.
Love has come down lately and I have noticed in home-made chicken noodle soup brought by a friend going through her own rough time, in the absence of a friend who wants to see me but understands that I am overwhelmed with certain things right now, in a mid-afternoon phone call from a family member checking up on me, in Christmas flowers decorated with purple decorations arriving in a purple box, and in a beautiful email from someone I had not heard from in almost two years, whose words brought tears to my eyes. Love has come down as I bit my lip in annoyance and let go of an attitude that gets under my skin, as I canceled a long-awaited get-together to spend time with my father and then to rest, as I made time for a friend celebrating a birthday, and in serving still, even as my energy wanes.
Love comes down again and again. Love bears more than what is humanly possible. St. Joseph could have walked away. Mary could have said no. God could have looked down on the earth and come up with a different plan–but instead God risked it all for us. With this in mind, we try harder. Love wins time and again. The slogan love wins is used by a family that used to live in Winnipeg and lost their daughter in the shootings in Newtown four years ago. I follow the social media posts of the parents. This week, the mother said she was stepping back because her fun circuits had been sucked dry by certain folks. My heart broke for her, a courageous woman who has worked tirelessly to educate people about the dangers of mental health, gun policies, and bullying. Love still will win, she is convinced. As soon as she catches a second wind, she will be back. That second wind will come from wrapping herself tightly in the Love of those who support her.
Today, Love came down at a memorial service for a friend’s brother. The Buddhist service allowed for a marvelous send off, with many people sharing their deep love for this man. I began to cry in the first moments of the service and continued almost non-stop. He was given his Buddhist name which I cannot quite remember but meant something to the effect of the one who brightens. I thought it was so apropos for this time of year. His memory will brighten the world for those who loved him. I was deeply touched by what his employer, friends, and family members had to say–mostly, I was moved by the number of men who cried openly and expressed their grief for one taken so suddenly and much too soon. I have been to many funerals since my own prognosis and tears have not come. I wondered what had caught me. About an hour later I realized that this was the first funeral for a sibling I had gone to in some time and that brought home to me the loss that is coming for my own siblings.
My father has been in the hospital for some time and this evening I reflected on St. Joseph who gave up much to be with Mary. I also wondered about his final days–how Jesus and Mary were as he became sick and took his last breath. Dad is not yet there, but I know that will come one day, and I may or may not be here for it. Fathers and daughters–there is a bond between some of us that is stronger than I can explain. Love has been hovering around the hospital bed with us. I am grateful for that.
Incarnate Love comes down this week for us. Love is welcoming us to the stable…to the messiness that is Christmas and our lives. Love leaps over time and space to be here with us now, even when we nail the door shut, when we think we cannot be consoled, when we are too tired to lift our weary heads, Love still comes…and waits. Advent lasts one more week. Love takes Hope, Peace, and Joy by the hand and makes a circle around us, just like an Advent wreath. We are encircled by these four lights as we wait for God to come in an Infinite infant. May we wait well and bring Love to those around us this week.
When have you last noticed Love’s presence?
What special action will you take during this last week of Advent to prepare for the coming of the Love?
Divine Leaper, come down, here into the very depths of my heart and dwell. May your Love fill me and spill out into the people of this hurting world who desperately need a Saviour. Come, You-Who-Left-EVERYTHING for us, come. Amen.