Years ago, while struggling with a church youth group to define things like love and peace, we decided to try the tactic of defining a thing by its opposite – what it is not (like “truth” and “lie;” or “hard” and “easy”). We were working with love. Right away someone said that the opposite of love is hate, and someone else said it is meanness or anger – not too different from hate. But one really wise girl said, “No. The opposite of love is fear.” The opposite of love is fear. That is so true. It is fear which separates us, which stands in the way of unconditional love. It is fear of the unknown, fear of the “other,” fear that we might not be totally in control that keeps us from open hearts.
I shared the idea this week that Mary and Joseph, charged with being parents to Jesus, might not really have loved one another – at least not at first. They hardly knew each other. But each of them loved God, and responded to God’s call on their life to step into the unknown. Mary responded to the angel’s call to bear the infant, to be his mother. Joseph responded to the angel’s call to accept Mary and claim the son by naming him, to be his father. Both stepped beyond fear and societal reservations and responded out of their love for God.
As the coming the Light approaches, I wish peace and grace to you in all things –