Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, DC Service Corps member Josh Maxey stresses the importance of God’s love and forgiveness.
Each year the church invites all the faithful to joyfully prepare our hearts and our minds for the celebration of the birth of the savior of the world. The holy season of Advent is a reminder to the faithful that we should be in a perpetual state of preparedness for the second coming of the Lord.
So how does one prepare oneself for the greatest event that is to come? It is easy to point to the Ten Commandments for this. We learn through Moses that we are not supposed to steal, kill, or become envious of other people’s possessions. But the Gospel of Jesus is so much more. In chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus exhorts to those listening that Love is the essence of his message. Yes, the Law of Moses is still relevant, but we follow the law out of love of God and Love of our neighbor. In 1 John chapter 4 we read that “God is love.”
One of the best ways that we can continue to live a gospel driven life and prepare ourselves for the second coming of Jesus is by offering His love to the entire world, to offer Christ’s comfort which will result in His joy transforming out lives. We are called to do this especially to those who are hurting or those who are ignored by society or even those who proclaim to be followers of Christ.
In ministry at Saint Bonaventure University, I was able on numerous occasions to comfort those who were in need of God’s love. Whether mourning a loss, or not feeling welcomed in the community, these individuals all needed to experience His love. In every situation. I was reminded along with those whom were being comforted that once we experience Christ’s comfort working through other people, we are filled with joy that no one can take away.
I specifically remember comforting a student who dealt with the aftermath of having an abortion. This student was distraught and was yearning for God and His love. We sat, discussed and prayed for each other’s needs. She felt that she was being punished by God for her decision to have this abortion, and she thought that God had “abandoned her.” In response to this statement, I echoed the words of St. Paul who said in his Letter to the Romans that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
A couple of months later, she thanked me for reminding her that “God’s love is relentless and that nothing will separate us from His love.” I recently ran into this woman and she is newly engaged and has become active in her faith again. This is the mission of the Church; to love all of God’s people and comfort them so that their joy which is found in Christ is restored. We are called to be instruments of God’s peace and love. May this Christmas season bring us closer to God’s love so that we may share His love with the entire world.
Philemon 1:7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
Reflection Question: In times of trial, where do you find reminders of God’s love?
Featured image: adaptation of photo by Pixabay user frankbeckerde – public domain