The 2nd Sunday of Advent has come and gone, the amaryllis’ that I wanted to plant by December 1st are still in their boxes, and last night we just didn’t have the energy to decorate the tree that Martin put up in the morning. But! This morning in the shower, I decided that it was not too late to do another Advent blog. I’ll explain how this came to be in a moment, but know that I’ll be doing my very best to post every day until Christmas, and I would love it, as always, if you were here.
Part of the reason I didn’t think I could/should do an Advent blog was because I did a lot of irresponsible and hurtful things this year, and I sort of stopped trusting that I had anything worthwhile to say. But I think that’s okay. David Whyte talks a lot about the need to get really tired of yourself sometimes, and I definitely have. But I love to blog, and I love all of you who read and share, so I’ve been praying about this whole question of how, why, if to write.
Then a week ago, I had this dream. I don’t remember all the details, mostly just that it was frightening and filled with a violent conflict. There was a lot of fighting, accusation and hurt, and a terrifying feeling of vulnerability. But when I woke up, two statements were completely clear in my mind: “Love means being bigger than judgment,” and, quite simply, “Love wins.”
Last Friday, I attended a memorial service for the brother of one of my dearest friends. He died far too young and completely unexpectedly. The minister read from Ecclesiastes, and to be honest, it was hard to feel comforted, even though the loss was not my loss. It felt like the minister was trying to explain something that there is no way to explain, to suggest that even if we didn’t understand, someone did, which is perhaps helpful; it wasn’t to me. Then he repeated the well-known words from 1 Corinthians 13, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” And that meant something real.
It meant that love doesn’t mean freedom from pain or heartbreak, but that love is bigger than pain and heartbreak. That love does not mean you don’t do terrible, hurtful things, but that love is the chance to move into a space where you can be bigger than any of those things. Love holds us. Love gives us a fighting chance to endure. Maya Angelou said, “Love keeps the stars in the firmament,” it is a force that powerful. I believe that it is also as gentle and present as the very air we breathe.
So that is the theme of this Advent blog: “Love wins.” In one of Jan Karon’s Mitford books she writes: “Love is an act of endless forgiveness.” Let’s be together here for Advent, and hope that we all experience something bigger than pain, more expansive than judgment, more encompassing than anger, and more freeing than fear.
Here is the rest of the poem that the Maya Angelou line is taken from. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll see you tomorrow!
“Love builds up the broken wall
and straightens the crooked path.
love keeps the stars in the firmament
and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides
each of us is created of it
and i suspect
each of us was created for it.”