Advent 2021: Love is Not a Moment, It’s Movement


As children we are often taught that love is a noun, an idea, an emotion. I prefer to believe–and teach myself, my daughter, and my students–that love is actually a verb. An action. A choice. Love is not only what we feel. Love is actually what we do. We love others through the choices we make. Choices to do what will help, uplift, and encourage them, and not to tear them down. Love is in our doing, not merely in our feeling. 

    Throughout Advent we do many things. We decorate houses, trees, lawns, gingerbread cookies and cottages, and cakes. We take family pictures and send out Christmas cards. We buy and wrap a gaggle of gifts for a plethora of people. We go skating and to Christmas, parties, markets, and concerts. In all of this doing, though, are we leaving room for doing in love? Are we holding space for the sweet little acts and services that we can lovingly perform? 

How can we verb Love in this Christmas season when so much can feel dark and grim? How can we live out Jesus and show Him to those around us, folding His name into the work of our hands as well as the words of our mouths? Often we forget that moving and doing in love can be the small, simple things and not only the grandiose gestures. A little card left in your mailbox thanking you for the beautiful lights display that you worked through that blustery day to put up. The cookies that you baked and gently left for your neighbors. That perfect sweater you found for your child that just makes them smile all over. Love in action leads us to Love as Life Practice. And as Advent moves us through this season of expectation and preparation, may Love be the guiding star that is leading us to the joy and glory that is Christ Jesus.

As Paul Williams so brilliantly wrote–and Robin the Frog so beautifully sang–in his song “Bless Us All”, “Let us always love each other. Lead us to the light” (The Muppet Christmas Carol).

‘Tis the Season


Today is December 1st but I wasn’t feeling it at all. Of course, that could have been due to the extremely busy morning I had. However, once we made it to church and started singing hymns, it was brought home  to me most powerfully that we are in the Christmas season. And it made my heart warm. I love Christmas hymns and all the memories that they invoke when I hear/sing them. I remember 22 years of singing those hymns and Chrismas songs with family and friends, in choir, in church, and around the house, and how it raised my spirits and filled me with that unmistakable “feeling” that is the Christmas season to me. I know that Christmas is more than songs, decorations, gifts, etc., but there is something about the music that just makes me FEEL Christmas-y.

Our neighbors are putting up their lights. I, in my turn,  will get my tree and decorations up this week and start wrapping presents (though they will be hidden away until Christmas Eve because my daughter likes to eat paper and is mobile enough to get her hands on a present before Mommy notices). Time for the Christmas candles and little touches of winter here and there throughout my house. Christmas parties, dinners, and gifts for friends.

Yep. ‘Tis the Season!

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Shopping Blues


I started my Christmas shopping today, and in the past I have found a joy in it. But not today, not really. I felt worse the longer I went on with it, though I did make a good dent in my list. But I felt depressed; I always do at Christmas time. And I think I know why.

I feel depressed because I always want to do more. I want to give my family more. More than just mere things. I want to give them trips, new experiences, chances to learn new things, see sights they have only dreamt of. I want to give them the world, but I don’t have it.

When I was in college, a friend of mine who couldn’t afford presents for her friends did something incredibly sweet. She gave each of us a letter and, in that letter, she told what she would have given us if she could give what she truly wanted. For me, she gave me the role of Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway. It’s my favorite musical. That meant a lot – the thought, the gesture, all of it. And all without a physical gift.

I want to do great things for those I love. I want to give them the world, even if I can’t give them the world.