Love All – Advent Again?

 Thanks to Leah Brown for her guest post on the Advent Conspiracy theme of Love All.

ac_ppt_16x9_love_all_title2Advent again??? How can it be true?? Where has the year gone?? These are the questions I begin asking myself each year as the end of November approaches. And now, Advent is almost half over. It seems like time is moving faster and faster as I get older (not a surprising fact since people have been sharing this wisdom with me for years!!). So, each year I am excited and exhausted by the expectations and realities of November and December. I am grateful that the “Advent Conspiracy” is giving me a new framework to challenge the ways I think about and live the days before Christmas!!

One of the most important aspects of this season is the way my love is expressed to those who are the most important to me. I want these special people to know without any doubt just how much I love and appreciate them. So, like many of you, it has been my tradition to spend a significant amount of time and effort trying to find just the right present and even more time searching to find a card that conveys the perfect sentiment. I know in my heart of hearts that all these people truly know how much I love them! After all, I have shared my love and care with them throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be presents under the tree for those I love, but I want to engage the process this year in such a way that I conserve more of my energy so that those presents come with more of my presence!

I believe, at its essence, the tenet of “Love All” is best expressed when we reach beyond ourselves. Jesus helped us understand the shape of this love in John 13:34-35 when he shared these words with his disciples:

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I am grateful that in my role as Minister with Senior Adults I have a front-row seat to the extraordinary ways members of our own family of faith put love into action. We will bring “White Christmas” food to the Hanging of the Green service to make sure that families in our community will have food on their tables. Members who are homebound or living in an extended care facility will be the glad recipients of gifts from our children which are distributed during our annual “Sharing Love at Christmas” service. Children learn first-hand how important it is to remember those who are no longer able to be here to worship and fellowship with us! Obviously, these are but a few of the ways members are attempting to put the mandate to “love one another” into practice. And, whether we want to believe it or not, it is true that others “will know we are Christians by our love”!! If you need more information about ways you could best use your gifts and presence, please consider having a conversation with a minister!! What an exciting journey this Advent season will be for all of us if we actually answer Jesus’ call to “Love All”.  

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About Father Tom

Tommy Bratton is the Minister of Christian Formation at First Baptist Church of Asheville. He has been married to Laura, the greatest wife in the world, since March 27, 1993. They have three sons: Ryan, Jake and Ben. Tommy is a big fan of sad country music, dystopian books, and great movies. View all posts by Father Tom

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