Tonight I co-hosted a table at our church’s Advent by Candlelight event - a time to focus on Jesus, the true meaning of the season. As I looked around the table at the women – some I had just met tonight – others I have had the honor of getting to know over the last several months – I was impressed with God’s love for them moving through me.
As we went through the activities of the night, we shared family traditions. One woman’s family started asking each other “what does God want for Christmas?” Another shared about the delicious egg strata her mother made each Christmas morning. One spoke of her family’s traditions – originating from Eastern Europe. The women spent hours cooking – learning the customary dishes for Christmas. Each girl initiated into the traditions – it was “woman talk” – a place where you heard the family stories, laughed, hands full of sticky dough. It was hard work, but significant.
I looked at each woman thinking that as I learned more about them, I had the opportunity to love them more. When we share ourselves, our story, our true self – where we’ve come from, the depth of who we are becomes rich and beautiful. To know more is to love more.
I believe that at times God has given me a spiritual love for people as I need it – at times suddenly and almost overwhelmingly. But more often in life, this sharing of who we are over time is what brings me to that complex, indescribable bond. Conversely, if a person is guarded and not willing to reveal even a glimpse of herself, I often cannot find love. I find fault and annoyance and struggle greatly to connect.
Tonight, I looked into each face and found that supernatural love, a gift to my worn soul. I can’t help but praise God at the gifts of community and love he has given me – something I have prayed for a long time.