On the last Sunday of Advent, we light the Love candle. Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. I’m not sure why that’s the order, nor do I know when this tradition started. It’s certainly not ~Biblical~ :lol:. But, for now, I’m not really interested in that. I’m interested in why these characteristics, and why that order.
See, right now, my family and I are going through a really big swamp mess. As Brené Brown calls it (I’m reading Rising Strong right now so please forgive me for this preoccupation), it’s a fall. We’re flat on our faces. It’s partly why I’m writing this late Monday evening instead of Saturday and scheduling it, or Sunday and just squeaking in “on time.” It feels like a deep mystery that yesterday would have been the Love candle Sunday. It’s a source of deep solace, but also I’m left wondering, where *** **** was this feeling before? Not that there wasn’t love, but it’s been brought so into focus. And it feels like it’s all we have to go on right now.
So why go through hope, peace, and joy before love? Isn’t God love? Doesn’t Paul say “and the greatest of these is love”? Ok, I suppose that makes sense because you build up to a grand finale. But psychologically speaking, why do we have to trek through all the bogs of life to come out on the other side, the love side? Unfortunately, I don’t really have an answer to that. I see from the floor here that feeling hope is definitely a part of what’s keeping me afloat. The thankfulness work of November is giving me moments of Joy and Peace. Little slivers, really, like the evening sun shining between the bare branches of a tree. Those moments multiply my love because they’re always with my family.
The song I selected for today is People Look East, on the tune Besançon. It’s a French folk melody, and the words were added in the early 20th century. I like it for the portrayals of Love:
Love the guest Love the rose Love the bird Love the star Love the Lord
Another great word for portrayal of love? Incarnation. Love can come to us in all these different ways. Soon, Love the Lord is on the way. But first he’s a tiny, helpless, vulnerable baby. The “fall” (Brené Brown, not “original sin” fall) is vulnerable. You are laid bare, the wind knocked out of you. Your only choice? Let yourself sink in the hopes of finding your greater truth, or run like heck. My theory? There’s a love for that. Maybe it’s the rose growing out of the furrows. Maybe it’s the star you see when you pick your face up from the ground. Maybe you’re flying and Love is a bird near you or a star you can almost reach… That’s the power of this hymn. And maybe that’s also the power of the path of Advent. We are all on our own individual routes, at different points in rising from a fall. We all have our wounds and shame. But the baby is coming regardless, and we are called to prepare ourselves as much as we can. And the best part? Even if we can’t prepare much this year, the liturgical calendar will reset again next year, and we will have the grace to try again.