The theme of the last week of the Advent season is love. Honestly, when I began to think about writing this devotional about love, I felt a little depleted. It has felt hard to love at times in 2020. But when I kept thinking, the words of my favorite Christmas hymn, “Oh Holy Night,” came to mind:
Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his Gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise his name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
When I think about love in this way, I remember the ways that so many in our community stood up to love the outcast and the marginalized in 2020. I think about how people choose to love their neighbors by wearing masks to protect them. I think about the millions of people who stood up against systemic racism, recognizing that it has no place in the Kingdom of God. I am reminded of the churches who sacrificed worshipping in-person to care for themselves and the community around them. We saw educators re-imagine the education system to keep our children and communities safe.
There are also so many examples of small kindnesses we experienced this year. There was sourdough starter shared by coworkers. Zoom helped us share memories we would have otherwise missed, like Easter lunches, game nights, and birthday parties. I hope we remember socially distanced porch sits with kind neighbors and delicious meals made by family.
It is when I consider the love of the Gospel that I am reminded of the love that can be found in this year. I believe these big acts of love and small kindnesses all matter in the Kingdom of God. I hope we will all continue to live out this love in big and small ways. It is this love that helps sustain us as we continue to wait for the return of Christ.