The daily Sacred Time series, available to us through the LEAD organization and sponsored in part by our Synod, is now in the middle of the third week of Advent. The theme this week is Love. The theme for week 1 was Hope and the theme for week 2 was Peace.
As was described in this week’s Sacred Time Zoom session with clergy and parishioners from around the country, there are seven primary Greek words that describe Love. Some research on my part led to these definitions. EROS describes romantic passion. PHILIA describes deep, authentic friendship. LUDUS describes playful flirtation. STORGE describes unconditional familial love. PHILAUTIA describes love of self. PRAGMA describes committed, companionate love. And, AGAPE describes empathetic, universal love.
Agape is characterized in the New Testament as God’s love for humankind and as the human reciprocal love for God. It is at this time, in Advent, that we should pause to recognize that we are waiting to celebrate the purest example of Agape, God’s love for us, in his gift of Jesus Christ. Christmas is near and the celebration of Jesus’ birth should help us see that God’s love knows no bounds.
So how do we reciprocate and show our love for God? We do that through our empathy and love for others. It could be by packing groceries for food pantry clients, or by donating to the Salvation Army or to a stranger in need, or by buying and donating gifts for children who are less fortunate, or by singing Christmas carols to the homebound, or by just smiling at a harried sales clerk and wishing them a Merry Christmas. There are so many ways to show our love for God.
Find ways to show your Agape love during this festival season. And, don’t stop there. Find ways that continue throughout the year. ‘Tis the season to be thankful for God’s love for us! Pass it on!