Posted by Sara Johansen | December 10, 2017
On the second Sunday of Advent we light the Bethlehem Candle, the Candle of Love. As we light this candle, we are reminded that God gave us the greatest love in the little town of Bethlehem in a humble manger.
Reflecting on the scene in Bethlehem, I am reminded that God’s love often comes to us through humble encounters.
We experience God’s love through
- the stranger on the street who says, “morning,”
- the chatty neighbor who is always willing to help you out,
- a friend who gives the best hugs,
- a family member who listens and comforts,
- a child holding your hand,
- a colleague who really wants to know “how are you doing,”
- a relationship with someone unexpected.
We witness God’s love in
- the family thankful for comfort and peace,
- those with little who give anyways,
- those who make the extra effort to make someone else feel special,
- a room full of people, from different places and with different experiences, laughing and enjoying one another,
- the neighborhood children enjoying their new playground,
- the patience of a teacher or a mentor,
- the eager students wanting to learn,
- those seeking a second chance,
- those who are struggling and need our support.
A few Sundays ago I sat in church behind a young family who lives with the reality that at any moment they can be separated from one another. As I watched them hugging, talking, smiling, thankful for another day together, I was overcome with the presence of God’s love. A love that gives hope to this family, a love that brings together a community to support this family and others like them, a love that will help us find a compassionate solution for this family.
During this season of Advent, let us pray that we can recognize, receive and respond to God’s love.
Sara Johansen is CCANO’s Associate Director of Advancement.