-Rev Melissa Fain-
9 How can we thank God enough for you, given all the joy we have because of you before our God? 10 Night and day, we pray more than ever to see all of you in person and to complete whatever you still need for your faith. 11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus guide us on our way back to you. 12 May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you. 13 May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 CEB
My friend and colleague, Rev James Brewer-Calvert told me some wise words before I got married: "You do not fall in love until after you get married."
Me, the know it all I was in my younger days, kindly nodded my head and decided to dismiss what he was saying. I already knew what love was. I was in love. I was engaged, and my heart was sold. There was no way that wasn't the real deal. It was like my future husband was all the things I liked about the guys I had previously dated. I had found him.
Flash forward to today. My husband and I have been married a dozen years and it will be a baker's dozen in February. Our understanding of love has been tested, torn, tossed and tumbled. Love was found through negotiation and patience in those times where things were being tossed and torn.
This was one of our very first ornaments. It is usually near the top of the tree. Don't try to read into why. When our son was born, he loved grabbing ornaments. For the first few years the bottom half of the tree looked bare except a few plastic ornaments, and the top half was filled with everything else. There are many parents that can relate to the 1/2 empty tree.
The point is, this ornament cannot stand for "love." We didn't know what love was. Instead, this ornament is a symbol for the hope of what our love would be. It is perfect in understanding Advent Hope. Marriage is a beacon of hope. We seek that hope as a promise that the couple is heading towards finding love, true love.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, hold us fast in the anticipation of new hope. Help those hopes be first steps in healthy futures. Amen.