Saturday, December 25, 2010

Love, Love, and Love Some More!

And the angel said unto them, “Be not afraid; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people…And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all.” Luke: 2:10, 13.
* * * * * *

In a lowly stable, an infant lay in a manger. His very birth shook the powers that held sway at that time and set off rumblings that traveled to wise men in the east and shepherds tending their flocks in the field. As a man grown, though, Jesus changed the world.

For some, he was a prophet or wise rabbi. For others, Jesus was a man who fanned that divine spark~~the one that lies within us all~~until it completely consumed him, obliterating divisions between self and other, spirit and matter, above and below. And for many, he was the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one, Savior, the Son of God.

Regardless of the view you hold, there is no doubt that Christ’s walk among us changed everything. And while there are variations among the canonical gospels, the theme that resounds most frequently is Jesus’s message of love.

In John 13:34, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The gospels are an articulation of this as they weave together parables and events that show what the living of this 11th commandment looks like.

Jesus reminds us to be gentle with one another. Judge not, that ye be not judged. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Consider the beam in your own eye before focusing on the mote in the eye of another.

He identifies the favored ones~~the poor, those who mourn, the meek, those who thirst for what is right and just, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted~~and the children, always the children.

He urges us to social action. Tend my sheep. Feed my lambs. Give to the poor. As you have done unto the least of my brethren, you have done unto me. Invite to your banquet the poor, crippled, lame and blind.

He implores us to relate generously to our companions on this journey, be they friend or foe. Turn the other cheek. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Love your enemies. Forgive seventy times seven. Go in peace.

Quite a tall order, indeed! Surely we fail. Yet, as we turn this light of love on ourselves, we honor our fledging and faltering efforts and, in faith, rise up to try again.

As we celebrate today the birth of Jesus, we can recommit ourselves to enacting his message of love. In the stable of our own lives, within the manger of our own hearts, we can greet this impulse to love and vow to nurture it, day in and day out.

Martin Luther gave us one of the sweetest prayers ever. “Ah! dearest Jesus, holy Child, Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled, Within my heart , that it may be A quiet chamber kept for Thee."

Let us make a quiet chamber for thee in our hearts. And what springs forth from that chamber will surely sing thy name.

Amen. Hallelujah! And a Merry Christmas to you all!

Loanne Marie


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and Love to All!

Loanne, thank you for reminding us what Jesus really taught. The ‘red letter’ part of the New Testament is what we need to focus on… Friends of mine and myself have suffered much from the rantings and hate-mongering of some of the ‘Christian’ voices in the media today.

As a Christian (with a Buddhist bent), I will offer up a famous quote from a saintly Hindu, Ghandi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Jesus is love. Love is what it is all about.

Loanne Marie said...

It certainly feels true to me that love is what it's all about. One of the ways I was taught to read the Bible was to focus on the teachings that were repeated most often. In that repetition lies the heart of the message. Speaking of Christ, love wins hands down.

Yes, it is painful to hear Christians being judgmental, arrogant, and unkind. When I can recognize, though, that they are demonstrating traits that reside in me as well, I can use their harmful behavior to recommit to transforming similar seeds in my own consciousness. Still, it saddens me, as I assume it saddens the Christ force that's with us today, to know the hurts that stem from his message of love.

We need to not let the voices of fear be the sole interpreters of Christianity. As in the early days, Christianity remains more a prism than a single color. We each need to be as clear a lens as possible so that the message can shine out in all its facets.

Thank you so much for writing on Christmas day!

Anonymous said...

It is good to read what today is really all about - lest we forget among the busy, presents, food and all that makes for most of the day. Love is what it's all about.
Great essay!

Loanne Marie said...

Yes, Christmas can be a bit B-U-S-Y, can't it?!!! As can the rest of our days. If we can stop and feel the heart of Christmas today, perhaps it will be easier to allow it to speak to us and through us the rest of the year. A day to remember love. Re~member: to become a member of that love again~~and again, and yet again.

Thanks so much for writing!

monica wood said...

Beautiful. Amen.

Loanne Marie said...

Ah, such a simple sweet post! Thank you!

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