How Do You End 2020? Love.

This is likely my last post for 2020. I’m in the midst of a staycation which involves sleeping in until mid-morning, laying on the couch binge-watching Apple TV and Disney + shows, re-reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and eating copious amounts of Christmas cookies. Oh, and of course, continuing my sort-of daily walking with Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home! It’s a tough life…but I am relishing every moment. 🙂

2020 has been a….well…you can fill in the blank with your favorite descriptive word. We seem to have swung from one crisis to the next. Pandemic, racial injustice, contested election, economic hardship, pandemic again. It’s been stressful and exhausting, and for many it has been utterly devastating. So, how do we close out a year that has brought such tragedy to so many people? We end as we begin…with love.

God is love. It is this love that we celebrated on Christmas. God loved us so much that he sent his own son into the world to redeem it. God wants to be reconciled to us, his beloved. He has pursued us across time and space, from the Garden of Eden to the cross in an effort to open the door of our hearts to receive his love. As John tells us in the above passage, God sent his son into the world so we might live through him. And what does this life lived in the Son look like? John has an answer for that too–it looks like love. We live through Christ when we love others as God loved us. When we reach out beyond ourselves, beyond our own opinions and desires and personal ambitions to show another person that they are valued and have worth, then we are living through Christ. John says, “we ought to love each other”. So that is my prayer for all of us as we leave 2020 and embark on whatever the new year might hold. We ought to love each other.

What might 2021 look like if each of us makes the conscious decision to love each other? Would there be less sniping and bickering? Would there be less judging and condemning? Would there be more compassion and empathy? Would there be more encouragement and peace? I think so. I think, as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, love is the key. We ought to love each other. This means thinking the best of people, not anticipating their worst. This means offering the hand of forgiveness, not the middle finger. This means listening to others instead of shouting out our own opinion. But above all, this means accepting the fact that those we interact with on a daily basis are also beloved children of God.

We ought to love each other.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us.  The following is a prayer ascribed to St. Anselm. As we end 2020 and venture into 2021, let us take this prayer to heart. Let us love each other with the love that comes from a life lived in Christ. We ought to love each other. Will you pray with me?

Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being.

Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself.

I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding.

I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you.

Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.

Blessings and Peace,