In 2017 the fourth Sunday of Advent happens to also be Christmas Eve. I suspect that this is going to result in the fourth Sunday not getting a whole lot of press time. It is going to be overshadowed by the grand event, it is going to be a small blip on the radar in the face of Christmas coming in directly behind it. Maybe that is ok, maybe it is just fine if this year we look at this Sunday in Advent as simply an early beginning to Christmas. Traditionally the theme for the last Sunday in Advent is love. I can’t think of a better theme to carry us through the Christmas season. God was expressing love when Jesus came to live here on earth as a small vulnerable baby. Mary showed us love as a new mother, Joseph was expressing love by staying at Mary’s side, and Jesus’ entire ministry was based on love.
At Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center God’s love is shown to us in many different ways. This love is surrounding us in the nature that is always present. From the majestic oak trees to the breath taking sunsets, from the calls of the loons to the soaring of the eagles, the restorative love of nature is everywhere a person turns at camp. Even on these cold winter mornings when I look out across Green Lake and the water is throwing off magical whiffs of steam, I can’t help but feel God’s grandeur and presence in all that we do. This presence assures me that I am never truly alone, that I am indeed part of something much greater than myself. God’s love is also very present in the conversations and laughter that seem to be always occurring whenever we are hosting guests. I can’t think of a better expression of God’s love than the presence and caring of friends and family gathered around a fireplace, or at the water front, or the dining room table. It is in the sharing of our joys and challenges that we are able to share God’s love with one another.
As we gather with family and friends this Christmas season, I invite you to reflect on the love of God that is present in the holiday meals, in the laughter, and even in the tears that are shared with one another. You are a beloved child of God and I invite you to share that love with everyone you meet this holiday season!
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp