Love Has Come- an Advent devotional for Dec. 20, 2017

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This Advent season I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to. 

Last night was the last mid-week worship service for Advent. We gathered and focused on the theme of “God is love.” Our focus hymn then was the one I am thinking about now, “Love Has Come.” You may not be familiar with it at first, but you are probably familiar with the tune the lyrics are set tune called, “Un Flambeau.” Or, more famously in English, “Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella.” If you know the melody speak or sing the words to it and let them dance, or perhaps more accurately waltz like in 3/4 time.

Love has come a light in the darkness! Love shines forth in the Bethlehem skies.
See, all heaven has come to proclaim it; hear how their song of joy arises: Love! Love!
Born unto you, a Savior! Love! Love! Glory to God on high. 

During midweek services in Advent and Lent over the past year my wife Allison has invited members of the congregation to share faith stories. They have all been terrific, and have not only been ways for people in the faith community to get to know each other a little more deeply, but to also hear and wonder about what God is up to in each of their lives. Last night’s story though was a powerful and emotional one that covered the breadth and depth of emotions, pain, peace, and love that comes with God in the midst of terrible grieving and the loss of a loved one. I am still in awe of it, and am grateful that this friend and leader in the congregation felt called to share it.

Love is born! Come, share in the wonder. Love is God now asleep on the hay.
See the glow in the eyes of his mother; what is the name her heart is saying? Love! Love!
Love is the name she whispers; Love! Love! Jesus, Immanuel. 

“Love is born! Come, share in the wonder.” “See the glow in the eyes of his mother.” “Love is the name she whispers.” The words and text of these lyrics are so rich and paint a picture. They invite us to also wonder. They invite us to imagine Mary, but also what this might look like for each of us. What might this look like for you?

Love has come and never will leave us! Love is life everlasting and free. 
Love is Jesus within and among us. Love is the peace our hearts are seeking. Love! Love!
Love is the gift of Christmas. Love! Love! Praise to you, God on high! 

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Not only has love come, winter has also come to Nebraska- with some ice and a tiny dusting of snow.

“Love is life everlasting and free.” Thanks be to God for this!

It seems winter has finally come to Nebraska after bizarre weeks on end of 50 and 60 degree temperature highs. Today the rain is turning to freezing rain, sleet, and snow. It’s just in time for the solstice, and longest night of the year in the western hemisphere. So, as the snow and ice arrive, I hope I can slow down a bit on the roads and find peace and comfort in the slightly longer drives to work and home. And for all of you traveling this week or weekend, may God be with you and keep you safe.

_________________________

Credit/Reference: Ken Bible, F. Seguin, “Love Has Come,” found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 292.

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