25 Days of Advent - Love

Love by Linda Bertsche

Secular society would have us believe that love equals diamonds, hot tubs in the Pocono's, and heart shaped everything; that infatuated obsession and possessiveness lead the way in the experience of love. OK. Some of the above "things" might have a place in the arena of love! But, at its core, I maintain that Love is something else.

You might recognize this photo as one that Pastor Steve shared in Christmas's past. As I study it, I am moved by Mary's intent gaze upon this Infant brought to her in mystery and by no choice of her own. Her story tells us that she had passed the threshold of submission to God's Way months prior when visited by Gabriel ("let it be to me according to your Word." Lk 1:38). Mary's expression seems to exude a Love that comes from an uncluttered and deep place of commitment. It captures the awe of what God has brought into to her life. It is not one of giddy excitement or personal accomplishment-the stuff of which cigar celebrations are made.

In this moment Mary is participating in a profound and sacred event: God carrying forward yet again His ancient and unwavering commitment to His people. In surrendering her future to God's, she is "in", in the deepest sense of the word. She mirrors the Love God offers us when we are "all in" with Him. Without knowing the end point, Mary links her future to God's desire to "dwell among us". This is at its heart, Love.

Love manifested through commitment helps define the event of Christmas. How will we reflect that same committed Love to God and others this season?

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

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. 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.

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. 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.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

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