Christmas is only one more sleep away.
Today as we light the fourth and final candle on our Advent wreath we can see that the light comes very close to overcoming all darkness. The only candle that is left now is the center candle, the Christ candle, which we’ll light on Christmas morning.
As a reminder of the order of our candles, the first represents peace, the second hope and the third joy. This fourth candle represents love.
Love is a gift; a gift from God.
At Christmastime, we as Christians believe that God’s greatest gift of love was Jesus, the Savior of the world. As we read the Christmas narrative in the gospels, an angel appears to Joseph telling him that he will have a son and instructing Joseph to name his son Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’. Jesus was born a baby, fully God and fully human, and taught us how to love by living with us on earth and being an example to us.
Jesus taught us to love everyone, no matter what.
He taught us to love our enemies.
He taught us not to discriminate, not to label people, not to play favourites.
He taught us to welcome strangers into our homes, to feed people who are hungry, to give clothes to those who need clothing, to visit people in prison and to give a drink of cold water to those who are thirsty.
Simply put, he modelled what it means to really love our neighbours as ourselves. We follow this model as we strive to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.’
God of all love,
Thank you for loving us. Thank you for the Advent and Christmas season, which reminds us of how to love others as ourselves.
Be with all of our friends who live on the streets and in our shelters, and reveal to them through us that they too are loved.