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“Love, the Rose, is on its way..”.

All my senses are invited to join in as this part of the season crescendos…the culmination of Advent, Winter Solstice, Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day, beginning twelve days comfort and joy to savor. And for me in my rose garden, small but reminding me of the giver so long ago, a confluence of scent, color, softness, awakening to the possibiity of the Light that has come, will come and is here!

The Church calendar this final week of Advent lights the way with Love. Although the promise and vision of Light is increasing each week, I am all too aware of the opaqueness and miasma that surrounds us daily–rising COVID numbers with its Greek variants, standoffs and vitriol in the world’s capital cities, floods and tornados, with destruction and cutoffs shriek from the headlines. Yet, all though this season, and I believe, beyond, I can sense Love lighting up the world, Love wafting through the air, Love softening some of the hurts and slights, Love sweetening the bitterness. Indeed, Love wins!

On Christmas I celebrate with Christian communities the coming of Jesus, the Christ, Love in person. The Love that I have sensed throughout these days of bafflement and confusion comes from that Love. In my small world it has looked like generosity, goods, service and presence given to so many in such places of need, grand and small, in the name of that Love. It has touched folk with gentleness in response to ranting, impatience and grief. It has filled the room with the aroma of patience, deep listening, even to the oft repeated stories, more than twice-told. It has been a taste of the goodness of the Holy One, who has downloaded the Grace of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

I am as unclear as everyone else about what a new year might bring, to me and to my beloved ones, to my community and my city, to the nation and the nations of the world. But in the lighting the Advent wreath I can see as much as I am able that Love is the only way to navigate the unknown–Love when I deliver coffee bread to the neighbor, Love when I make that phone or e-mail connection to the lonely or limited one, Love when I encounter the service people who come or to whom I go, Love to the agencies and organizations that are on the front lines of distributing resources for shelter and sustenance, Love to my dearest and nearest amid frustrations of changed plans, snafus and hoped denied. And I can reach down into that Love, because I am Beloved myself–by the Holy One in Jesus.

Heedless of the pouring rain this Christmas Eve morning, I am letting myself be filled, in my body, mind and spirit with God’s Love for the world, for me, and am trusting that in recycling that Love, I can participate in the ongoing healing of the world this season and on the days to come. Love Wins!