Love the World
Today is the day of the Schoharie Christian after-school Program Birthday Party for Jesus. They celebrated by giving gifts of food items to the pantry, and also received presents for the after school program: toys for them all to play with, supplies such as pencil sharpeners, and other such items. Love is an abstract concept for children, and receiving gifts that are for the whole group, not for one person, can be similarly difficult to comprehend. They started their party/lesson with a field trip down the hall to the pantry so the children could see their tissue-wrapped gifts on the shelves, then they gathered in the main room, sang "Happy Birthday to Jesus", and opened the gifts given to the program. It is fun having new toys to play with, and as the homework-room bound kids headed to the library, I heard them say, "Finally we get a new pencil sharpener!" In reality, all the gifts were received with fairly equal enthusiasm.
The gifts to the food pantry were an illustration of one way we can love one another, and most of the kids seemed to understand. Bringing in food, putting it in the pantry, and then hearing that there are families who come and eat the food so provided made this difficult concept somewhat more concrete for them.
So much of our faith is similar - abstract, difficult to follow along without a dictionary that can translate and define some of the terminology employed. The dictionary needs to have historical context, but also modern interpretations, and fluently give the one definition that is correct at any given time, unambiguously. The abstract nature can become a barrier to faith for any uninitiated.
But Love is universal - no matter where you go on this earth, you can find Love. It is beautiful, simple, and complex. Sometimes you know you can see it, even if it cannot be defined. So, this upcoming Sunday, the fourth of Advent, is about love - the best, fullest live, that fills the world, even in the face of the tide of hate. Love is more powerful.
~Rev. Andrea Holroyd