Welcome to the 3rd Sunday of Advent when we celebrate with the Advent Candle of Love. We are getting so close to the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth. The best-known passage of scripture is about God’s Love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16) That amount of love in hard to fathom. Even as I told my kids, “I love you so, so much, but God loves you more,” it was hard for me to fully comprehend.
In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied the words of the Lord, “‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed.” (Isaiah 54:10).
For 100’s of years God was steadfast in his love for us – humankind. Then he sent his son and God incarnate was a human infant child. God brought his love to earth, to live, love and suffer as humankind lives, loves and suffers. Jesus lived a life teaching and exhibiting love. What do we do with that? Are we just waiting for a second advent – a new arrival of Jesus? As we wait, what do we do? We do what Jesus did.
When his critics tried to test him, asking which commandment is the greatest, Jesus answered “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
In 1 John 4:7-12 we are told, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
I recommend you read the above scripture from 1 John 4:7-12 again, then read it tomorrow when you wake up and read it everyday. Share this with others, for there are some who do not feel loved. God has given them to us to nourish and care for, and to show God’s love through our hearts.
From Community of Christ’s Doctrine and Covenants 153:9a-b:
“Let my word be preached to the bruised and the brokenhearted as well as those who are enmeshed in sin, longing to repent and follow me. Let the truths of my gospel be proclaimed as widely and as far as the dedication of the Saints, especially through the exercise of their temporal stewardship, will allow.
My Spirit is reaching out to numerous souls even now and there are many who will respond if you, my people, will bear affirmative testimony of my love and my desires for all to come unto me.”
If you have a candle at home, any candle, light it, and declare it the Candle of Love. Breathe in God’s love and hold it close to your heart and let it grow. And get ready for the birth of Jesus Christ.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.