This Sunday we will be celebrating Love, particularly the love God has for all of us.
I believe the word LOVE is a word we often use carelessly. I say this because the word LOVE has its definition in what and who we want to love, who we want to love us, and what our definition of love means. The love of God for us is built into our DNA. It is always and forever, dependent only on the constant nature of our God who dwells within and is constantly leaning into us, desiring a deeper connection, a stronger uninterrupted knowing. When we read the scripture that announces, “Love casts out all fear and does not involve punishment,” those of us who live prisoner to deep abiding wounds, prese our lips and think, “If this is love, if this is true, why am I afraid?” Why does it hurt when someone we care about extravagantly shares their love for us and then our protective mechanisms kick in and create all sorts of reasons about how the presence this extravagant love must have hidden or unhealthy motives? It hurts because our unhealed wounds are desperate thieves and liars who want us to feel like they do, unworthy, not good enough, not important. How can we trust the love of another, especially our Creator, when we allow our cells to be on high alert to protect us from the possibility of being alone, abandoned or misunderstood? One of the saddest realities among us is how many of us sabotage the love we seek by believing we will be devoured and unable to be free to be who we are. The truth is, healthy love empowers one to be their best self and then live into their gifts and dreams. Unhealed wounds may be able to lead others to healing waters, but the reality is, they become a lens of either – or, confusing independence with the empowering journey of inter-dependence that creates connection that causes us to soar, expanding us to be able to receive more love and give more love. It’s amazing how fast we can conjure reasons to run like the wind away from the presence of the very thing we need, love, and then blame or shame the presence of this present love into silence.
Extravagant love joyfully pours itself out for another. Jesus had to cram pouring out God’s extravagant love into a 3.5 year journey and his pouring caused either extravagant peace and joy, or internal, and then external chaos, everywhere he went. The impact of the love of God depends on the state of our minds with regard to the state of our wholeness. Many of us miss the birth of love, the opportunity for loving healing relationships, because our wounds, our cellular memory, our unconscious, demands love to look and feel a certain way, a way we have defined as “safe”, because we are trying to be in control of the uncontrollable.
This Friday my daughter Amy and I will enter into our traditional Christmas date that we anticipate with wonder and joy every Advent. We will dress up and go out to enjoy a beautiful meal, sweet and fun conversation, and then venture to the Jack Singer Hall to watch and FEEL the music and movement of The Nutcracker. Amy and I have been enjoying this date with love, music and movement for twelve years. One of the beautiful aspects of this familiar adventure is that each year, both of us are independently moved by a different piece of music, familiar music to be sure, however, we acknowledge that time has passed and we are evolving, experiencing a new moment. Our acknowledgment of being moved by what we are experiencing creates room for the familiar to surprise us and fill us with joy. Every year, we glance at one another in a different place in The Nutcracker and we smile in awe and appreciation of the music, of the movement and for our relationship, our shared love for one another. This is yearly shared experience is intentional because we allow room for love and music to rapture our senses. Life is too fleeting to allow the past to steal love’s rapture, love’s gifts and love’s empowering lessons.
Everyone of us have been created by perfection to enter into the world of imperfections where for whatever reason, fear continues to try keeping us living wounded, emotional and spiritual zombies, desperately searching to be devoured by love. Extravagant love, God’s unexpected love alive in another, the kind that intrigues, surprises and opens our hungry wounds, arrives when we least expect it, when we most need it and usually when we believe we are open and ready while we lace up our inner and outer track shoes. The deal is, real love, extravagant love, and God’s love can be terrifying, especially for our wounds who do not want to lose their grip on us. But as a friend recently shared with me, things that are terrifying can be “Kinda Awesome”. This Advent, dare to receive the “awesome” this Christmas because love is on its way…in fact, it may have already knocked your socks off while you are tripping on your laces. Love and music have a way of stripping us to our beautiful core. Terrifying? No! Beautiful and healing and freeing! When the love we need shows up, may we dare to take the plunge and be fully immersed in the extravagance God has gifted to us, trusting that we will land upon the shore of safe and encouraging sands.