2021 Advent Devotional: In the Midst of Changing Ways – Many Gifts, One Spirit
Week 3: The Gift of Love
Scripture: Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Reflector: Connie Takamine
Cats have a reputation for being aloof and uncaring. Being a cat person, I would beg to differ. They do have minds of their own, and each one has a distinct personality.
A Japanese researcher recently conducted a study that found that cats have a perceptive ability to know where their caretaker is even when not in sight. In my experience with cats, they also have a perceptive ability to know if you need them. I am a double breast cancer survivor. When I had my first bout with cancer over 30 years ago, my cat at the time was Misty. She liked to sleep on my chest. When she first came to me after my mastectomy, I was hesitant because I thought she might put strain on my surgical wound. But Misty seemed to know how to place herself so that her warmth and love would flow through me and be healing.
You may wonder how this relates to the Gift of Love. To me, this is a lot like God’s love – perceptive, caring, and healing. We can learn from animals and the unconditional love they offer us.
One of my recent devotional readings was based on the theme LOVE is Coming. Doug Ruffle, the author, created an anagram of LOVE as “Jesus beckons us to follow his lead (Leader), to enter into his way of being (Order), to know that redemption is near through faith in him (Victory), and that this invitation is open to all (Everyone). Animals help us feel that we are imbued with the love of God and the God of love, not just for ourselves, but also for others.
In this time of Advent, indeed, LOVE is coming.
Prayer: The Love of God with us. It is not a mere feeling or sentiment, but a deeper, perceptive caring for others. Love invites our participation. May love be birthed within and through us this Advent season. O Come, O come Emmanuel…. Amen.