Old Testament ~ “You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…” Nehemiah 9: 17a
New Testament ~ “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” John 4:12
Spiritual Focus ~ “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – I Am, Exhale – Loved
Devotion ~ This week we pause to consider a kaleidoscope of faith events as almost all faith traditions are celebrating some sort of connection with the Sacred. Hanukkah commemorates the restoration of the miracle of light in the holy temple of Jerusalem. In pre-Christian Scandinavia the 12-day Feast of Jul, or Yule, celebrated the rebirth of the sun god and gave rise to the custom of burning a Yule log. This year we have a unique experience, a connection with the Christian narrative of the Bethlehem or Christmas star and an astrological event. The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, resulting in what appears to be a super bright star, happens for the first time in perhaps 800 years. Some postulate that this planetary conjunction is the same occurrence that happened the night of Jesus’ birth as described in scripture. Perhaps what makes this event even more remarkable is that it takes place on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Many folks of faith and yogis celebrate the solstice by acknowledging the mystery of the universe. Many traditions pause at this time of year to acknowledge that there is something greater than the self; there is something sacred, and many experience the Sacred in the wonder of the dark night sky as well as in the light of stars, moons, and planets.
The Christian faith stands alone in a narrative that celebrates God’s choosing to become human. It celebrates the story that is proclaimed afresh every Christmas—the story of love coming out of the heavens to dwell among us. The Christmas story breaks through all the barriers we might construct to Love.
While we may think of Love as coming down, truly it is more accurate to say Love is all around. Love broke through barriers to show us the way of love and the way of God. The way of Love was wrapped in bands of cloth, not a royal robe and crown. Love was kept warm by hay and the steamy breath of livestock.
The way of Love, a story from more than 2,000 years ago, continues to break down our barriers today. Love breaks through our barriers to being loved, bringing hope, peace, and joy to all people, wherever they are on their faith and spiritual journeys. When we seek the barriers to love within ourselves and break through those barriers, we awaken to a steadfast love. We find a Love so radiant that it cannot be defined in words but can be simply and humbly received as a Christmas mystery.