HOPE. PEACE. JOY. LOVE.
Saturday, December 19
Julianne Shirek, Director of Middle School Ministry at Roswell Presbyterian Church
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
Since I am in the middle of preparing for a marriage and planning a wedding, love is a word that has really resonated with me recently. And not too long ago, I found myself reading over the token scripture passage for weddings: 1 Corinthians 13. It's a lovely passage with a poetic feel, and it sounds beautiful when recited. But the more I really look at it and let Paul's words sink in, the more I am challenged by it, especially during this Advent season.
I don't know if you struggle with this, but for me, Advent brings many added pressures to my already busy schedule. I have to purchase the perfect gifts that everyone will be excited about and thankful for. I need to make sure that I attend countless church events and Christmas parties so that I don't let anyone down. I need to remember that Christmas is also a time for extra generosity, so I need to either volunteer my time or donate certain items to help the less fortunate. The list goes on...
And then Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13 hit home. If I give the perfect gift but don't have love, I am nothing. If I have perfect attendance for every event or party, but don't have love, I gain nothing. Even if I take the time to care for the less fortunate doing "good" things, but don't have love, I am nothing. I can do all of the right things this Advent season, but if I don't have love while I'm doing them, if love is not what is motivating me, I am nothing.
Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the greatest gift of Love we'll ever know. This Advent season, my hope and prayer is that above all else, our lives would be a reflection of that Love. That when we are searching for a parking spot at the mall or waiting in line to get those last minute gifts, we would remember that love is patient and not easily angered. That when we feel like we have to compete with a relative or friend who we see at a party or family get together, we would remember that love is not self-seeking, boastful, dishonoring, or proud. That when we feel the weight of our schedules and to-do lists on our shoulders, we would remember that the greatest thing we can give and do is love.
Dear God, This Advent season, I pray that I would remember that love is the greatest gift I can give. Help me to live my life as a reflection of your amazing love. Amen