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).