Moving from Joy to Love, the Last Stop Before Bethlehem

Advent Joy moves to Love
Joy spelled out in large decorated letters. Image by Rachael Keefe.

Advent draws to an end with joy giving way to Love on Sunday. Love will carry us into Christmas.


Just when we might despair of our government being able to accomplish anything helpful and good, Biden signed the Marriage Equality Act. This brought joy to many, just in time to celebrate Love this Sunday.

Of course, romantic love isn’t the Love we celebrate during Advent, though it is a part of it. The Love we will celebrate on Sunday is the world-changing Love that comes from God breaking into the world, the Love Jesus embodied. This is the kind of Love we seek to embody as a community.

Like hope, peace, and joy, Love is most likely be to be experienced in relationship. We hold hope for one another. We experience peace and the evidence of repentance as we relate to one another and to Creation. Joy is hard to find on our own and we are more likely to enter into it in the company of another – like Mary and Elizabeth. Love is much the same; in the company of another Love becomes much more real.

All of these are the result of human spirit and Holy Spirit connecting. As we head into the last week of Advent, take some time to notice where God is moving in your life and around you. What hope do you have for the days ahead? Where have you experienced peace or shared peace? What, in addition to the Marriage Equality Act, has brought you Joy? Where have you encountered God’s Love breaking into the world?

If these questions are hard to answer, do not worry. You are not alone on this journey. You are part of a community of Love and we make room for whatever you are carrying. No matter what, very soon we will all be kneeling at the manger in Bethlehem. Together we will make room once more for Christ to enter into our lives and into the world around us.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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7 thoughts on “Moving from Joy to Love, the Last Stop Before Bethlehem”

  1. I find that I cycle through these feelings (and their negative counter parts) many times in my life so far and that’s ok. I’ve learned that nothing lasts forever, good or bad, so I must enjoy and learn from each. I do know God is with me always.

  2. I totally agree that Love is more clear in relationship. In the times when one is alone, how do you all connect into Love in meaningful ways?

  3. When I awoke this morning and took my first step of the day, I experienced GREAT JOY!
    I had a steroid injection in my hip and it worked!! I am so grateful as we will soon leave for Florida where I hope to be able to bike and be more active. God bless Dr. Terry Hunt!


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