Lectionary Reading for Sunday: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (NRSV)
One of the blessings for me this year was on Mother’s Day. Mom was living in Bradford Village and was close to the end of her life. We gathered around her after church and she knew each of us. She was happy to eat the candy that we brought her! As we continued to visit, I could see her getting tired. She and my dad were sitting on the couch together and she leaned over against him and fell asleep with her head on his chest as his arm was around her. You could see that both of them appreciated this quiet moment when they could just be near each other again. They were companions for the majority of their lives.
They had ups and downs. There were times when each was exasperated with the other. There were times when they asked themselves, “Who have I yoked myself with?” But there were also times when they celebrated the joys of life together that reminded them why they had married in the first place. Over the years, they grew in love with one another. After Mom passed, Dad didn’t quite last 5 months. I think it was that when she died, he was ready to go too. After 63 years of marriage, he may not have been able to adjust to life without her.
As we consider romantic relationships, we hope to have someone that we grow to love completely - someone who really knows us and loves us anyway!
As the Advent season arrives, we find ourselves waiting on Christmas once more. We may be searching for Christmas gifts for those whom we love. There are some we love and know quite well but still are not sure what to get!
But if we move to a more spiritual understanding of Advent, we would think about our relationship with Jesus. It is an odd season as we await the birth of Jesus because he has already been born! He is with us as the risen Christ even as we look toward celebrating Christmas again.
So much of the time, we hear lamenting over the commercialization of the season. Sometimes we are the ones doing the complaining! How could we focus more on Jesus during this Advent?
As Sunday’s reading indicates, Paul bids Jesus to make us “increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” I think about my parents’ marriage and how they grew in love with one another through their lives. I believe that my own marriage is moving in this same direction. But what about my love for all? Do I love others more completely than I did last year? Have I grown distant in how I feel about others - maybe as a result of the polarization that on the rise?
If we are reluctant to answer or are unsure how we feel, I think this is a good time for us to re-examine what we can do to remedy this. How can we approach our relationships with others like we would a marriage relationship? The failure of a marriage is when it ends in divorce. This is a painful ending that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So how can we weather a relationship when we find it difficult so that we can find our good will deepening rather than lessening?
If nothing else, this would be a good gift to offer Jesus this year. Join us on Sunday as we strengthen our resolve to follow the apostle Paul’s will for our lives for our love for others to abound!
Check out more of Sam’s blog articles at precedinggrace.blogspot.com. Photo by Craig Dugas vis Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.