Advent 2022: Fourth Sunday of Advent, Love Beyond My Attention Span

Published December 18, 2022 by Adam Cogliano

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. (Lamentations 3:22)

Growing up, Christmas mornings always began with tinges of impatience and irritation. Year after year, my brother and I knew that we were not allowed to go downstairs to unwrap gifts until my father grabbed his video recording device. Through the years, my father's device of choice changed from a larger camcorder to a smaller camcorder to an even smaller phone camera, but every year, he was insistent that he record me and my brother walking down the stairs and seeing our gifts (much to our annoyance, as we just wanted to open presents!). Kelsey joined in once we were married, and it ultimately became a running joke—"What's taking so long?!" we would ask at the top of the stairs. "Why do we need to do this every year?"

A couple of years ago, my father sat us all down in front of the television on Christmas day to show us a project he had been working on (which happened to be twenty six years or so in the making). He edited all the videos of us together: from Christmas of 1994 with just me and my mother, to Christmas of 1999 with me and my newborn brother, to Christmas of 2018 with my brother, me, and wife of six months.

Year after year, my father demonstrated a simple act of love that could not be understood in the moment. He knew his ultimate goal and had a sense of dedication to a project that transcended any span of attention I could ever have. In his faithfulness and dedication to this project year after year, love for his family was fulfilled.

How often do we have a shortsighted sense of God's love for us? In the midst of difficult seasons or even simple annoyances, it is not always easy to recognize love that goes beyond our meager attention spans. Perhaps our myopic way of understanding God's love for us prevents us from even knowing God's love at all. This week, be encouraged by and pay attention to the incarnational words of love from our Sanctuary Choir on December 18 and 24. Remember God's love that came after long spans of waiting and impatience, love that could not be fully understood or received until it was fulfilled in the baby.

In seeing my father's love fulfilled in that final video culmination, his daily acts of love became more clear, even when it meant waiting a few extra minutes to open presents while he found his camera.

Lord, give us patience and endurance amidst the ebbs and flows of life, so that we may know your true love and faithfulness that never fails. Amen.