Held Close in Love: The Fourth Sunday of Advent
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” — John 15: 9–12 (New Living Translation).
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, a season of waiting, preparation, and repentance. It is a time to quiet our hearts, separate ourselves from the busyness of our fast-paced society, and turn our eyes to the promises of our coming Messiah. All around the world, believers will light candles on this Sunday to illuminate the darkness and wait in joyful expectation for a Savior promised, but One who had not yet come. Today, we join them by lighting the fourth advent candle, symbolizing the love displayed through Christs coming at Christmas. I have also curated a Spotify playlist¹ centered on songs of joy to accompany this week. Nothing would make me happier than you joining this time of reflection, hope, and declaration.
I read once that God’s love is less like a Christmas present and more like an Advent calendar. This is so genuinely true. The love of Christ extended to us (and all people) is not something we only receive once but something we will find every day as we open the door and seek the wonder of Christ’s love. As we strive to embody the love Christ has extended toward us and implored us to advance, we must remember that God’s love is not only of the mind. God’s love is not only of language but, at every turn, requires all of our heart.
We are called to abandon ourselves as we light the fourth candle of Advent. His love will illuminate our paths and equip us for the authentic work before us- leaving us to reflect on the truth that we are rescued by hope, enveloped in peace, overflowing with joy, and held close in love as we light the fourth candle of Advent.