This second week of Advent centers on the love of God and how that love transforms us to love others.
As we prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord, we prepare our homes for the arrival of family and friends. We imagine what it will be like to dine and visit with loved ones. We treasure thoughts of home—a place of safety and love.
Mary and Joseph had to leave home, just when they needed home the most. Their arduous journey to Bethlehem meant they were alone at a time when they most needed community. Yet God was present to Mary and Joseph in their wandering. They experienced God as Protector and Sustainer as they traveled to the unfamiliar surroundings of Bethlehem for the census.
Once there, they experienced God as Keeper of Promises. Jeremiah 33:14-16 says: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.’”
God makes a promise through Jeremiah, and He keeps it in Bethlehem. Jesus is born, and nothing will ever be the same.
Today, in a world that makes the barn in Bethlehem feel like a very long time ago, God calls us to help keep children safe and give shelter to those who are homeless.
You are our hearts’ home. Your home is safe, loving, and eternal. But so many of Your children are trapped in homes that are not safe. Or they are forced to leave safe homes for nightmares they may not escape. You chose to incarnate Yourself into a family that had little else but love on the night You were born. Rescue us from our preoccupation with ourselves, so that we can see the needs, and the hope, around us. Draw us closer to Your light as we draw closer to Christmas.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Live it out
God’s love for us is radical. It is entirely unmerited, yet given fully and freely. We cannot even begin to fathom how wide, how deep, and how great is the love of Christ. However, those of us who have experienced a glimpse of this love are forever changed. In the next few days, challenge yourself to love someone radically. This may require going far outside your comfort zone, but the love Christ calls us to isn’t safe or comfortable. Who in your life is difficult to love? Is there a certain group of people against whom you hold prejudices and whom you fail to love genuinely? Find a way to love this person or people this week. Maybe you can write a letter to or have coffee with someone against whom you’ve held a grudge. Maybe you can try to get to know someone and start changing the stereotype you have of the group to which he or she belongs. Maybe you can spend time with and love someone you know will never be able to thank you. Whatever you do, be sure to do it without the need for praise or recognition.
Courtesy of World Vision.