When given the opportunity to reflect on Love for the second week of Advent, my mind went immediately to two songs from Mumford and Sons. If you are not familiar with this artist, I would recommend listening to their entire debut album but in particular “Sigh No More” and “Awake My Soul.”
In Advent we are reflecting on two realities. We are remembering the anticipation of the first coming of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus. However, at the same time, we are also anticipating the second coming of Jesus and the fulfillment of His Kingdom here on earth.
When Jesus began his ministry, he began with these words from Luke, chapter 4:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
This is what Christmas is! It’s not about a cute baby in a wooden manger, or tinsel trimmed-trees, or eggnog and Christmas cookies. It is the God of love breaking into our world, breaking into our humanity, and living among us. It is about this God of love coming to set us free. Jesus was born to die. Jesus was born to set us free.
And when I hear Mumford and Sons sing in their song “Sigh No More”
Love it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you,
it will set you free, be more like the man you were made to be.
I think to myself, this is what the Christian life is really about. This what Jesus’s life here on earth is about. This is what Christmas is really about it. When we invite Christ into our lives, when we allow him to work, we become all that God made us to be. We are set free from our sins and from the things that ensnare us and hold us bondage only through the love of God at work in our lives.
But it does not stop there.
This love. This God living among us. This freedom.
It is not meant to be kept to ourselves. It is meant to be shared.
In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life
–Mumford and Sons, “Awake my Soul”
So where will you invest your love this Christmas?
Will you invest it in the rush of the season, the giving of gifts, baking of yet another dozen cookies.?
Or will you invest it in something more, in something that lasts? Will you share with others the real joy and real meaning of Christmas? And will you take time to experience this for yourself, once again?
Angie Rines is currently a Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in New Jersey. Since 2001, she has served in churches and parachurch organizations working with youth and college students in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Tennessee, and now, New Jersey. She has a secret love for Hallmark movies, ran her first 5k this fall, and infrequently blogs at Not All Who Wander Are Lost