The final Sunday of Advent and this week we focus on Love.

I don't know what it says that this is always the hardest one to write.
Do we even know what "love" is?
I know it's more than just an emotion.... but I had to dive down a bit deeper to get the true sense of just what kind of love we are all searching for.




Matthew 1:18-22

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

~~~
What is Love?  A simple search of the local library or movie listings suggests this is a question that greatly plagues humanity.  Our entire existence – our happiness even, seems dependent on finding this elusive “feeling.”  Movies and television tell us what Love should look like.  According to these stories, love is either just here for a good time, or it’s a complicated trail laden with tears.  If this is Love, why does it hurt?  Or, why does it leave?  Is there not a simpler Love story?
A baby born of humble birth.  A mother who knew the art of letting go, before she ever held him.  A boy who became a man dedicated to demonstrating to the world that Compassion is a VERB.  Not a story just for the beautiful and strong, but for even the lowest, weakest among us.  Raise the meek of heart, raise the dead.  Save them all – but not yourself.  He lived his life with arms stretched open wide; even to the very end.  Feeling flowed into action!
Jesus took all the hurt and pain, the hate and the fear, and the wrong of this world upon himself.  Instead of spewing it back out into a world already groaning under the collective weight of misery – he absorbed it all and turned it into Grace and Mercy.  That’s how love moves.  Not a limited offer, but always reaching towards us with everlasting arms.  Arms that comfort and lift us higher.  When the boat was rocky and the waves violently tossing.  When fear and doubt hung a garden in shrouds.  Love not only remained; it conquered.   
The most important thing to consider in discerning exactly what Love is:  do not be concerned with what you GET – but what you GIVE. 
 ~~~
When I wrote that last line, I really felt that "click" in my soul.   So much more than just an AHA moment, but something that both chastised me, and moved me to do better.   Towards action. 
That's the difference between a love that condemns and leaves you feeling all spent and broken.   And the kind of love that actually motivates AND moves you to just Love better.