26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:26-30) These verses are from the account of the Annunciation which is the gospel reading this 4th Sunday in Advent in the year 2020.
Advent is a season of waiting in Hope. As a Christian people we wait on the Nativity of the Christ child. But in our personal lives, sometimes the goal of our waiting is not exactly clear in our minds; yet we wait. I often wait for an idea or at least the seed of an idea of what I might write for this post. There are times I am just waiting for just a quiet spot within the day.
This Advent has been quiet. We are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Infections, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing – and so parishioners are “safer at home.” All this and I am here in this parish less than 3 months. As a result of all these things and more, the normal ebb and flow of my previous Advents as a priest is quite different this year. There were a million things to do or ensure got done. My previous parish also was responsible as chaplains for a major regional trauma center hospital. Our daily confession lines stretched out to the horizon (or so it seemed some days). There were lots of December weddings and the quiet of Advent seemed to be punctuated by the next phone call, the next meeting, the next …. whatever it was. Run, Father, run….
The God revealed in Scripture doesn’t just love, he is love. As a triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit—he has always been and always will be an others-centered, self-giving, communal being. God so loved us, loved the world that he sent his only Son, Jesus, who fully embodies the love of God. That love was demonstrated most clearly when he gave his life on behalf of humanity. When people learn to trust Jesus’ love for them, they join in God’s community of life and love, and their very nature is transformed to live a life of love with him. In today’s video offering from the amazing folks at The Bible Project, you can explore the biblical meaning of love.