Life Is Fragile; Love Is Not
“We had an active shooter here.”
That was the text I received this morning from my sister.
A chill ran down my spine and I froze in terror as I texted her back, “Are you ok?”
Carla had just reported to work at UNC when the unnerving call for “lockdown” came. I have no details at this time about the shooter and know nothing more about the incident, but she is unharmed and has been given the “all clear” signal. After wiping away the tears and the rush of adrenaline subsided, I realized with new clarity just how precious she was to me; indeed how precious are all the relationships I have with others.
It’s amazing really, how quickly we can “write each other off” or “get bent out of shape” over things that don’t amount to a hill of beans; a difference in opinion, a critical remark, an unanswered phone call or insensitive Facebook post. In our hearts we quickly forget that the relationship itself is God’s gift to us and how we receive it is up to us. The text message from my sister was just the wake up call I needed because our lifespans are short and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. We can treasure one another or spin our wheels and lose each other. The choice is ours.
We can choose love over hate or forgiveness over retaliation. We can spend our days building one another up or tearing each other down. We can choose to be a good friend or a poor one; to “fix” each other or “love” each other and they are not the same.
In this Advent season we “wait” for Emmanuel (God With Us) to come again; both into our world and into our hearts anew. Why? Because HE is our SAVIOR. It is not our job to fix one another. The Bible is clear about what is expected of us. We are to love God and one another as Christ has loved us. So choose love every time, choose to be humble, merciful and forgiving, hopeful and full of joy. Choose to reflect the love of God wherever you are because the holidays are difficult for everyone.
Below is an advent prayer by Henri Nouwen to help you through this hectic, hyped up season. It is beautiful in sentiment and powerful in that it is offered to Almighty God in the name of the Prince of Peace. May Christs’ love, joy, hope and peace be with you always.
An Advent Prayer
Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!” Amen Henri Nouwen