December 17, 2021
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling. 
There is no flaw in you.”
Song of Solomon 4:7

Sometimes, love and acceptance can be difficult things to extend to others.
But this is most especially difficult to do when we do not love and accept ourselves very well. 

Have you ever noticed this?
If we really pay attention, we find that people who tend to be the most critical are often most critical of themselves. People who aren’t very generous are first and foremost not charitable toward themselves.

We do not always love ourselves well. Especially at this time of year. We tend to run ourselves ragged, get down on ourselves for forgetting this or that, or even compare our lives with others.

By learning to “love ourselves,” I don’t mean learning the shallow positive self-talk and self-improvement practices our culture often lifts up today. While those things may have their value at times, what I mean is choosing to see our God-given lives as having value – already and just as they are.

Emmanuel - God with us - did not wait until we had life all figured out before God chose to love us. God did not wait to send a Savior to come to us – in the fullness of our humanity – to help us move toward the light. God offers love and a radical acceptance to you now... In your imperfection… In your humanity… in your pain.

The God of Advent comes to us as the embodiment of love.
And choosing to embody love for others requires that first and foremost, we learn to accept it for ourselves.

Is there a place in your life or heart that you have not opened up to God for fear of rejection?
Is there a place of shame that keeps you from growing in your faith?

Be encouraged today that as God draws near to you in this Advent season, the gift of love that we are being invited to receive is one that is free of charge. It is not contingent on how much you get right or wrong or anything else you can do. God’s love doesn’t keep score. 

Maybe if we can figure that out, we’ll stop keeping score too.

Pastor Kate