2011 Advent Devotion- Sunday, December 25

Sunday, December 25                      
1 John 4:7-16

Christmas is here! Baby Jesus is sleeping in the manger as two exhausted parents look on. The shepherds are still in a state of amazement from having heard the heavenly choir singing, “Glory to God in the highest! Peace to all on earth!”

And for us—mission accomplished. Cantatas concluded. Food baskets delivered. Christmas card list tucked away. Annual obligations to be with those certain family members or neighbors or colleagues fulfilled. “Silent Night” has passed. New Year’s resolutions are next, though we know that the old patterns of barking at those we love and criticizing any who disagree loom near.

But, wait: Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another … if we love one another, God lives in us, and [God’s] love is perfected in us (1 John 4:11-12).

In parliamentary procedure, after a motion is made, others are given the opportunity to “perfect” it—to add or delete words or phrases so that it is better than the original. What does God’s perfected love in us look like? Loving one another, committing ourselves to following Christ each day, living peaceably with all, working for justice and reconciliation—these are a few snapshots. In essence, it is opening ourselves to God by loving one another.

Christmas is here. But God’s work is not done—nor is ours!

God of perfect love, thank you for the gift of Emmanuel, God-with-us. Help us not to see this day as an ending, but as a beginning of deeper commitment to love one another and to help bring peace to all on earth. Amen.

Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly, PC(USA)
Louisville, Kentucky

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