“Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.”
We have arrived at the last week of Advent, the week we celebrate love. ”
The readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent do not discuss love by name, but rather the relationship between God and His people. He is a God of faithfulness, strength—our constant companion. What a timely reminder in this year of uncertainty and change: God’s love is certain and unchanging.
In the first reading, God speaks to the prophet Nathan about King David, whom God loves dearly. He tells Nathan of His love for David, that He destroyed all David’s enemies and gave him a place of rest. God goes on to say: “I have been with you wherever you went,” always and forever by David’s side. We see this David/God love-fest echoed in the Psalm for the week as well!
In the first reading, Nathan tells David:
“The Lord is with you.”
Sound familiar? Later, in the Gospel, we read the story of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel tells Mary:
“The Lord is with you.”
Not only does this reveal how blessed and highly favored Mary is to God, like David, but it’s also a fulfillment of God’s promise to David in the first reading.
God fulfills His promises. His love is constant, faithful, honest, and unwavering. I’m not sure about you, but that’s the kind of love I crave when my world is flipped turned upside down. I have asked so many questions this year… “Where are you, Lord?” and “What do you want from me, Lord?”
Reading Mary’s response to God’s message always moves me, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
This is true love right here. Not the chocolate cake kind of love. This is the “I know you see me and know me and love me, Lord. I know you are always with me, so I am going to trust your plan for my life, even though it may sound scary” kind of love. What a beautiful example of our response to Him. Let’s ponder these things in our heart these last few days before Christmas…
Do I find myself looking for a love so true and constant, especially during this past year? Do I look for this love in the wrong places such as distraction, food/drink, bad habits instead of prayer? Have I heard God’s call and ignored it because it seemed too impossible or difficult? Have I lost confidence in God’s promises in my own life? Do I accept that God’s love for me never fails? Do I accept my Identity in Christ, that I am blessed and highly favored by God? Ask for Mary’s help and intercession to show us how to be more like her, accepting, carrying and bearing Jesus life into the world around us.
- Receive the Eucharist. The Eucharist is an intimate and ultimate expression of love. This is the single most important prayer we can pray and the best offering of love we can make.
- Pray a Rosary. The mysteries of the rosary highlight Mary’s journey from Annunciation to Coronation. Pray these mysteries and ponder Mary’s life and response to God’s love. Ask her to help you love and trust God the best you can.
- Write a Love Letter. Write a letter of love to God. You don’t have to show anyone but write down what His love has meant to you, how much you love him, and why you love him.
- Learn to “Speak” Someone’s Love Language Did you know we all give and receive love differently? Some through physical touch, others in quality time and words of affirmation. Still others through acts of service and giving gifts. Discover your own love language and the love language of those closest to you. Spend time loving them this week in their preferred love language.
- Trust Fall on His Love Spend some time with the Psalms, especially those of praise and adoration. The Psalmist’s love for God is so evident and beautiful, often relatable too. Is there a difficult situation in your life that you can surrender? Be bold and do a “trust fall” into him. Let him catch you, and rely on his constant and unwavering love.
Scripture to Ponder:
- Let all that you do be done in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14
- Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8
- There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
- Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
- And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:14
- A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34-35
- Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
- So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
- We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
- Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. – Proverbs 10:12
- Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7
A “Lovely” Songlist:
Copyright 2020 Stacy Halbach