Advent Reflections @ CEC - December 14, 2020
“I’m in love, I’m in Love, I’m on love, and I don’t care who knows it!” – Buddy the Elf
Scripture & Devotion: Scripture focus: Jeremiah 31:3-6
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.”
An everlasting love
Love is an interesting word. In English, it can be a noun (a thing, an emotion) or a verb (an action) or even a descriptive adjective, such as in the phrases “a love interest” or “a love offering”. In many languages, there are different words for “love” depending on the context or on what one means specifically, such as familial love or avid enthusiasm or romantic love or unconditional acceptance.
When we say that God “loves” us, we are talking about right now, at this moment, in the present tense. And yet, the season of Advent points us once again to the profound truth that God’s love knows no time frame. In the focus passage for today, the prophet Jeremiah reminds God’s people that the Lord himself previously appeared to them in order to communicate the eternal nature of his love. Although the sentence is written in the past tense, it projects into an infinite, everlasting future. The scripture goes on to foretell of a time of when current hardship and struggle will be replaced by rejoicing, when privation will give way to planting and destruction to rebuilding.
If there were ever a people that needed to hear such a message of reassurance about God’s everlasting love, it is we who inhabit this present earth. If ever there were a time when people were desperate for a revival of the conviction that there is “somebody up there who loves them”, it is now, when so much seems beyond our control and we are threatened with physical illness, depression, and fear the likes of which humanity has seldom seen. It is heartening to be reminded that God’s love for humankind has always existed and will continue to do so – forever.
Most Christians are familiar with (and may even be able to quote) well-known passages of scripture that speak of this love, such as John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”), or 1 John 4:7-8 (“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love does not know God, for God is love”), or 1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as the “love” chapter (“So faith, hope, love abide, but the greatest of these is love”). Perhaps, even as children, many of us learned to sing songs such as “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world” or “Jesus loves me, this I know.” But it is so easy to slip into a mindset of “that was then; this is now”, especially in the light (or the darkness) of current circumstances. Scripture reminds us that God’s love, the kind of love that sent us a Savior whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime, is just as real and present in our lives every day as it used to be or has ever been.
Love permeates the Biblical stories of Jesus from before his birth all the way through his life, his death, his resurrection, and beyond. His teachings about love in words and in actions continue to resonate through the ages. Let this season of Advent be a time to reflect upon the gift of Jesus’s love and sacrifice, an everlasting love that always was, always is, and always will be – for all time.
Cindy Graff Prayer:
Please allow Your love to permeate all that we are.