armsoffriendsThis third week of Advent, after Gaudete Sunday, where we praise the Holy, as Mary did, remembering her with  a rose colored candle in our Advent wreaths, is about Loving.  All of one’s body is involved in loving, but often the first movement is with our arms.

I found this work of art in Montreal this fall. So much Love is shown in the arms of these three: the expressive arms of the one telling her truth; the accepting arms of the one bent in to listen deeply; and the arms that hold and support the truth as it is being told. How many people, especially in this season, long for welcoming and supportive arms of Love outstretched on their behalf!

I have been noticing active arms of Love this week:

  • the driver who ferries the car pool daily, often adding to his load, children other than his own
  • the grandparent who opens her heart and arms to greet the little one after he trips and falls
  • the strong arms who give support and balance to the one whose gait is not quite as steady as it once was
  • the long arms that reach that elusive ingredient on the top shelf of the grocery store for the shopper who can’t reach it
  • those who put all their arms together to pack up turkey dinners for households who need them this Christmas
  • the quick defensive arms who keep others from tripping, or ward off danger from something unexpected
  • the willing arms that carry things from story to car, from car to home, from home to friends

So many ways to show Love! And each one is characteristic of the Holy One who is Love. The prophet Hosea characterizes God speaking this way:

…it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with  cords of human kindness, with bands of Love. (Hosea 11: 3-4)

I am seeking to make my arms loving ones this Advent, whether it is rocking a little one, following the Mother Mary, or offering a great-grandmother’s cookie recipe to guests invited, or sitting with relaxed posture to hear the story that needs telling, whether I am hearing it for the first time or have heard it many times before. As for my own needs to be replenished in Love this season,  I am taking shelter in the Loving Arms of the One who made me just the way I am, who can comfort and heal me, then send me out again to Love the world!

People, look east, the time is near/of the crowning of the year./ Make your house fair as you are able,/ trim the hearth and set the table./People, look east and sing today:/ Love the Guest is on the Way.