Advent Reading for December 15, 2021
by Rebecca St Pierre

Colossians 3: 13-14
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

LOVE…we use that term so often that it becomes very trivialized. Unlike other languages, which have many different words for different types of “love,” English just has the one word, which we use in a very broad spectrum. We profess love for each other and love for our Maker and love for the baby Jesus, but we also profess “love” for the latest song drop from a famous singer, the pets we own, our favorite (or even just our most recent) dessert or appreciation for a snarky comment by a fellow conversationalist. How do we distinguish which “love” is the one that matters and differentiate that one from the others?

The ancient Greeks had eight (8!) different words for love. The one used in this passage is, of course, the Agape word for love. Agape is a selfless, universal love, extended to all people, whether family or strangers. C.S. Lewis called this the “highest form of Christian love.”

Paul is telling the Colossians (and all of us) that we should “get over ourselves.” We need to forgive and forget the petty wrongs that plague us on a daily basis. We also need to forgive and forget the larger wrongs that plague us (hopefully not on a daily basis). We need to move on from our hurt/shame/irritation and work toward that greatest of virtues…Agape.
In this season of giving, God gave us his greatest gift…the gift of his son. Instead of looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, we might look to the advent candle of love, and concentrate on practicing the virtue that “binds them all together in perfect unity…”Love that is selfless, universal, unconditional and bigger than ourselves.

Reflection Questions:
During this Christmas season, how can we shift our focus from the busy to the really important?
Are there grievances you could release? People you could forgive? Hurts you could dismiss?

Prayer: While we often get caught up in the hectic activities of the season, help us to pause and reflect on the value of your greatest gift and the agape love that he brought to the world and our lives. May we take that love out into our worlds and let it fill our hearts and lives today and every day. Amen