Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Are you ready to dive in and start embodying love in our community? Get your family together and talk over the suggestions below, or create your own ideas of how you can be Jesus’ loving hands and feet to those around you this week.
DONATE TO “RUSH”
Make a financial
help create supply
bags for each
classroom at Helen
checks payable to
written on the memo line.
Put your donation into one of the envelopes in the back of the chairs at the worship service next sunday and then drop it into the offering.
($90 supplies everything for one whole classroom, but give as you feel led.)
Nothing says love like a regular-old hand-written note. Brainstorm together who you know (in your church, school, neighborhood, extended family) who could use a note affirming them and encouraging them. Write a message or draw a picture letting them know you appreciate them and are thinking of them.1
This is a fun activity to help you embody loving acts of service to each other as a family. Get something you can use as a “manger” — a shoebox or something similar will work. Then have a bowl or bucket of something like hay or tinsel or pieces of yarn available next to the manger. Now everyone in the family begins doing things secretly for one another. Do one another’s chores, leave nice notes, or tiny gifts, etc. for other members of the family. Every time you do a secret deed, you get to add one piece of straw to the manger. Try to fill the whole manger before Christmas day to get it ready for baby Jesus’ arrival.
Light the Advent Candles Gospel Reading: Matt. 22:34-46
FREE TO LOVE
The gospel message yesterday led us to a place where we can find freedom in the simple acceptance of God’s love. It is a truly humbling and joyful thing to realize just how much the Creator of everything in earth and heaven loves us. Our response is two-fold. We are called to love Him, first and foremost. He is worthy and deserving of our love, but He is a kind God who does not demand it — He wants us to give it freely if we’re going to give it.
The second way we respond to God’s love is a clear command from Him, though. We see Jesus say it very plainly, without a parable or metaphor. We can be sure that He wanted there to be no gray-room here. Jesus’ words about the need to love our neighbors as ourselves is a clear picture of who God is and what He cares about. He’s essentially saying to us, “So, you love me? Then love the people I love, the people I created, whether you get along with them or not.”
There is a very love-giving cycle that Jesus invites us to enter in. When we truly love God and seek Him, it is impossible to ignore what He asks us to do by loving others. And as we love others, the people that God has called us to love, we begin to see something different in them. We begin to see them with the eyes of their creator, God, and it spurs us back to loving the God in whom we put our hope.
How tragic would it be to be like the Saducees and the Pharisees, waiting forever for a Savior, being in His very presence, and not just failing to accept His love, but missing the incredible opportunity to be able to share that love and hope with others. Let us continue through Advent, determined not to miss the opportunities Christ gives us to bring hope and love to those in our broken and hopeless community.
Redeemer, come, with us abide. Our hearts to you we open wide. Let us your inner presence feel; your grace and love in us reveal.4
1) Adapted from Paul Sheneman, Illuminate: an Advent Experience. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill of Kansas City, 2011. Print.
4)Adapted from George Weissel, “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates” (1642), trans. Catherine Winkworth (1855), Cyber Hymnal, http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/l/u/lupyhymg.htm.