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Love Is the Essence

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Today’s Reflection

Love is the essence of who we are. At the manger, we gaze into the eyes of Jesus and see the perfect manifestation of God’s love embodied through a miraculous birth thousands of years ago. However, just as miraculous is the awareness that God’s love is reborn every single day when we choose to embody the love of God that dwells at the very center of our soul—our God-spark. We are created in God’s image, and we are good. We are fully capable of giving love to one another because we first were loved fully by God. The relational threads of love bind us—God, self, and other—together, and we are woven into a beautiful tapestry that we call humanity.

– Sharon Seyfarth Garner
Mandalas, Candles, and Prayer

From pages 47–48 of Mandalas, Candles, and Prayer: A Simply Centered Advent by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. Copyright © 2017 by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How will you show love to humanity in this season of Advent? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Philippians 4:4, NRSV

This Week: Pray for those mourning a loved one. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Prepare for Advent

Explore how nativity sets, Advent wreaths, candles, carols, Christmas cards, and other traditions help prepare our hearts for the God “who bends low to enter our world and our lives.” The Living Nativity, a new book and eCourse by Larry Peacock, is available now.

This week we remember: Thomas Merton (December 10).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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In order to continue receiving Upper Room Daily Reflections after January 1, 2019, please confirm your subscription here.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Jill December 13, 2018, 3:51 am

    Showing love to humanity – seems like a big ask. Yet, God has given us our little corner of humanity – and He does ask us to love well. Little acts of kindness, moments of not-mindless conversation, a warm embrace. Father – help me not to think in terms of grandiose things, but in simplicity and sincerity. Give me courage to love mom and dad well, to appreciate my sister, to honor You. May I rest in my weakness and let Your strength guide me and be my sufficiency.
    Julie – I pray your sore throat has improved.

  • Lou December 13, 2018, 7:05 am

    I pray to show love to someone that I meet today- I thank God for the blessing of his love- there is nothing else that compare. Prayers for all who come here today – that we all may know His love and know that nothing else on earth matters or should worry us when we rest secure in the knowledge of His everlasting love given to us in the manger and and on the cross. Thanks be to God.
    Love to all here at the UR.

  • Donna December 13, 2018, 7:59 am

    The holidays are so hard for me especially this year. My husband passed away May 1st 2018. He was my soulmate now he’s my guardian angel.

    • Julie December 13, 2018, 8:15 am

      Prayers for you, Donna. May you find peace and healing this holiday season.

  • Julie December 13, 2018, 8:11 am

    I had the same initial thought as Jill, wow. How can little me show love to humanity. But I thought of my prayer list. I pray for many people that I have met under many different circumstances. Whenever anyone expresses a need, or seems to have a need, I ask if I may pray for them. Then I continue to do so, each and every day. My list is long!
    Prayers for Jill and her family. Prayers that Gloria continues feeling well.
    Prayers for Lou and her family, may they celebrate the holiday’s together, even the daughter in Boston.
    Prayers for Mary and her parents, may her parents health continue to improve.
    Prayers for Connie and her husband. May Connie be completely healthy soon.
    Prayers for Betsy and her family as they support their brother in his time of healing.
    Prayers for Robert, Erich, and Anneliese. May Robert soon be back on the road and running around to his many activities.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell and may his ankle truly heal now.
    Prayers for Marcy, Mary, and Lucy. May Marcy have less pain today and may the insurance company agree to provide for her health needs.
    My cold has progressed, sigh. Praying it will resolve prior ro the holiday.
    Prayers dear UR family

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling December 13, 2018, 9:24 am

    Thanks for all your prayers.

    Indeed, love is the essence of who we are.

    May we love well and be a channel of God’s love!

    Blessings!

    May Julie and all be well!

  • Andrea December 13, 2018, 11:05 am

    I have thought about this question. One thing that has come to me is choosing how I relate to everyone I meet. In this bitter society we live in, I want to be centered in peace as much as possible. Two words percolate in my mind: ” Be kind.” With family, friends, and strangers, be kind. With people who are difficult, or whom I resent (my sister), I can stay true to myself (not cave in) and do so in a kind manner. I can take care of myself to remain centered. When I am way off- kilter, a visit to my grief therapist is therapeutic. I want to be peaceful within and peaceful toward others.

    Bundling up and walking in winter time gives me both peace and joy. Winter scenes deeply soothe my spirit – the oaks with their snow-topped charcoal branches, amber leaves and sturdy trunks; the dark forest green of pines; the birches’ peeling bark; the earth and pond with their wind-blown snow cover, dotted by fallen leaves and twigs. The magical quiet of a snowfall. Although I do not like the shortened days, winter’s beauty is the wonderful silver lining.

    Blessings and prayers.

  • robert moeller December 13, 2018, 2:47 pm

    Thankful that I am able to help others, moved by the Spirit and enabled with God’s provision.

    Wish the reflection came when I am awake in the wee hours of the morning.
    I’m back to sleep when it comes and then have things to do when I get up.

    Church conference went well last night, progress with organizing the various fund raising efforts. Sadly choir practice and worship are not possible on Sunday as I provide transportation for my son. I will make Bible study and help as best I can. Recent events have me a bit out of kilter, but not out of spirit.

    Prayers for all of you as we near the Third Sunday of Advent.

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