Saturday, December 20, 2014

Love - Joy

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  –Romans 15:13

The fourth week of Advent, we light the candle that represents love.  Love is big.  God is love! (1 John 4:8)  Which is why Christine Rossetti’s poem is so fitting:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

By Christina Rossetti

(The Kings College Choir sings a nice version here: )

It’s this love that is the foundation for our joy.  Love and joy are linked together.  Which is why the name Lovejoy is such an ironic name for the reverend in The Simpsons TV show.[1] Rev. Lovejoy is not joyful.  He’s cynical and tired.  He’s like so many of us that seem to have lost our joy.  And although the Simpsons creator says he named the reverend after a street,[2] the name is particularly ironic because love and joy are expected of Christians.  Jesus even told us this is how people would know us, by our love! (John 13:35)

Joy is still waiting for us, and I think love is the key.  And maybe this is something we learn from Rev. Lovejoy, who we see dealing with lots of difficult people, especially Homer Simpson, but he hangs in there.  Maybe that is love, too.  Sticking it out in less than ideal conditions is a gesture of love, and maybe even in the midst of that we can find joy in love.  God is love, and God loves us and wants us to have joy.  So why not ask him for some?  Trust him to hear and to answer in ways that may surprise you!

For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.  (Psalm 33:21)

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