Love

Dog so loved the world…

The fourth Sunday of Advent invites us to meditate on love, which I could not bring myself to do. Why is it so hard to write a post about Love Sunday?

Because love is so important, and big, and complicated that it’s a little bit scary. Add on the fear of looking like a silly sap, and it is difficult to write a single word.

Love is important. It is one of the things that makes life good. Lots of people focus their energies on projects like fighting for freedom, justice, and equality. But, the goal of these projects is to fix things that are broken, to remove barriers to living well. They are in the service of living well. So, we better think about what living well means. For me, a life lived well includes, focuses on, love. No pressure, when it comes to getting this right…

Love is big. How do we even start thinking about it? What should be the first word we put down on the page when we write about it? The Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Advent usually comes from the Book of John—”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” That’s a big deal. Thinking about something that big can be paralyzing.

Love is complicated. Even if a person (say, for example, me) gathers her courage to write about this big and important thing, she still has to pick something to latch onto. What kind of thing is love? An emotion? An attitude? A relationship? A union? A responsibility? It is hard to know what kind of thing it is, let alone what it is. It seems both personal and universal. It appears to include amorphic warm fuzzies, and fierce protectivity, and deep respect. Even this incomplete list includes very different kinds of things.

A first step toward understanding this important, big, and complicated thing is to look for something close at hand, something concrete, and something that I know with certainty.

Here is a 100 percent clear and certain thing that I know about love: I love this dog, and he loves me.

black and tan German Shepherd with happy expression on his face

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