A Note from Kelly King: In Kaye Hurta’s second part of her series on Advent, she examines the concept of love. Romans tells us that God demonstrated His love toward us while we were sinners by the cross of Christ. John tells us that God loved us so much that He gave us His son. We should never take for granted God’s ultimate love for each of us.
Welcome to Friday and part two of Two Sides of the Same Coin. (Click here to read part one.) The two sides of the same coin are wounding and wonder or pain and promise, if you prefer. In this life, we all hold both of these in one hand, they are two sides of the same coin. We hold this tension year round, but it is far more pronounced during the holidays—especially Christmas!
We have entered a season on the church calendar called Advent. Advent is celebrated in the church during the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Traditionally there is a wreath that holds five candles. One is lit each of the four Sundays, and the fifth is lit on Christmas Day. The first candle represents hope, as proclaimed through the prophets. The second is love, as demonstrated in the manger when Love (Jesus) was birthed. The third candle represents joy as announced through the shepherds. The fourth represents peace as heralded through the angels. The final candle is the Christ candle which represents Him as the light of the world.
Last week we took a glance at the first theme of Advent: hope. This week we will look at the theme for the second week of Advent and then flip the coin over and see it through the lens of someone in pain. It is my prayer that it will help you lead and minister to those who are hurting through the holidays.
Go ahead a light a candle (literally or figuratively) to represent love.
I’m dating myself here, but do you remember posters being displayed during the Vietnam War that said, “Make love, not war”?
It’s a lovely sentiment, but the truth is we are at war.
We have a very real enemy whose goal, according to Scripture, is to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give us life—abundant life (John 10:10). Because God IS love, I believe the enemy works feverishly to counterfeit, steal, kill, and destroy it! I hold this view because of Scripture and the thousands of stories I have heard from women who have been traumatized by love gone wrong. The enemy has twisted and distorted family love, self love, love from others, and most insidiously, God’s love. Love is at the core of the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, NIV). Of course the enemy is taking dead aim at love. My youngest daughter is 15 years old and already has a hard time loving herself or believing that God loves her as she is. I’m 56 years old, and there are days I have to remind myself of this truth. God’s love becomes blurred through the lens of pain and wounding, and yet it is the other side of the same coin.
Someone you know is fearful of the holidays because they will be face to face with an abuser, maybe even around a table.
Someone you know is dreading the holidays because there is someone who will never be at the table again.
Someone you know isolates herself during this season because she can’t bear to remain unseen again this year.
Someone you know is struggling with depression that seems darker against the backdrop of tinsel and lights.
Someone you know is convinced that God will never love her because of what she has done. And what she has done remains a secret because someone you know is convinced if she tells it, no one else will love her either.
As a healing and helping community, let’s commit to love others well.
Loving well involves:
- Listening without judgement
- Serving unconditionally
- Holding to a boundary
- Finding someone hard to love and loving them anyway
People who are hurting find it difficult to give love and receive love. Let’s model well what that looks like, and let’s offer them both grace and space—maybe even space at our table!
If you are looking for a good book to challenge your capacity to love, read Love Does by Bob Goff.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.