The Fourth Sunday of Advent
What is love?
"For God so loved the world that God gave God's only begotten into the world that whosoever believes in him may not perish but have everlasting life."
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This week in worship we hear Mary's story of messy love. Mary's love is a story of fear and faith, shame and hope. It is the young love of a teenager forced to grow up quickly. It is the love of a mother. It seems to be the story of a woman forced to accept the favor of God, and raises the question: is Mary powerless in her destiny, or is this actually a choice between fates in a society when typically woman and girls had no autonomy?
What is Love? Love is messy, love can blind. It provides both clarity and uncertainty, it compels us to make decisions and choices that otherwise would never occur. Love rejoices when people are happy, Love sits with those who mourn. Love pushes and prods and cajoles. Love is quiet, waits, and listens. God's Love came into this world in the form of a helpless baby. God's Love is in this world in the face of every person, every immigrant, every homeless veteran, the dreamers, the philosophers, leaders of nations, the sick, the elderly, and every single child.
This is our hope: God comes into this world, but it will not be when we expect it, or how. We must seek out and speak of the times of peace, declare it to the nations. We sit with those who weep, and dance with the rejoicing. We show God's love in every thought, word, and deed, even when life, and love, get messy.