Have you ever tried to define love: to find just the right words to be able to explain to another? Many writers have tried, some with more success than others, but a consistent and definitive definition seems to be somewhat elusive. Definitions fall short of the actual experience. Perhaps, like faith, interpreting the experience of love is beyond words. Poets and artist get closest to it by using metaphor and image. Yet, even with the limitations of language, we somehow know what love is, what it feels like, and we know it when we see it. As an example, describing what it is like to eat a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa is very different than actually eating a chocolate Santa. They are two different knowings. And so, it is in knowing love too. Through God’s grace, and with God’s grace, and not so much with language, we know what love is.

To know love takes faith, a willingness to surrender, to let go of the surety of outcome, and to be willing to yield the consequences of yes to God’s hands. Love requires us to let go of fear and to say yes. In Luke 1:26-38, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary.” The Angel goes on to tell her that she will conceive a baby and give birth to the Son of God. I am certain that even though the Angel preempted the news of the coming birth with the words, “Do not be afraid, Mary,” she felt fear. Of course, she felt fear, a very real and human response to the vision of an angel and the proclamation that she would give birth to the Christ Child. She felt fear just like I have and many of us have this year of 2020 when confronted with not understanding, political, social, unrest, and not knowing what the future holds.

In that moment of choice, Mary put aside her fear, and in so doing she chose love and said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord: let it be with me according to your word. “Saying yes, Mary surrenders herself to waiting in the unknown and without understanding, so that she would bring Christ and Love into the world. For the child that Mary at once carries in her body, and at the same time waits for, is love.

Like Mary, may we have the strength and courage to put aside our fear and say yes to birthing love into our world. Birthing is not an easy experience; it requires surrender, vulnerability, waiting, letting go of what was and pain. We know, however, that in all of this we don’t wait alone. We wait with God, with each other, and we wait as one in the body of Christ. We pray that God grants us with the vision to see that it is an always and never-ending choice we have to birth love into our world. As Mary waited, we also wait this Christmas time in surrender, with grateful hearts, and a joyful knowing that, with God’s grace, we choose love, knowing that our yes is Christmas.

Patricia Warburton

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