Daily Dose, Dec. 22: Advent

  Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8) Over the course of your life, you come across lots of different people. Just because your paths cross doesn’t give you the right to say that you “know” that person. I sometimes find myself pausing when someone asks, “Do you know ___________?” There are times when my answer is a firm and confident “Yes!” At other times, though, I’ll pause…and then respond with “I know OF them, but I don’t actually know them.” There’s a big difference between those two things. Knowing someone means that I’ve given them some access to my life, and they’ve likely done the same for me. It’s not the same to just “know of” someone. When you know of someone, you can remain at a comfortable distance. They can come and go and never have any real impact on you. But when you KNOW someone, their experiences end up impacting you. As Christ-followers, we are asked to follow in Jesus’ footsteps as he loved the world. And he REALLY loved the world. As we read about him in the Gospels, we often see him in one-on-one interactions with people. I have a hard time imagining Jesus in a hurry. Instead, I picture him loving people enough that, when he was near, he would give them the time that the relationship required. When Jesus asked a simple question like “How are you doing,” I believe he always took the time to hear the real answer. That’s how love behaves. Love is more than lip service. Love is born out in our actions and behaviors. As we approach Christmas, consider whether you will demonstrate love to others by giving the time to really hear them, to see them as people, to hear their stories, to laugh with them and hurt with them. Are you willing to do that? Your answer may reveal whether you KNOW God or only KNOW OF him. -- Rev. Brad Greene