All around us the singing and the decorations are shouting out hope, peace and joy. This is not reality for all persons. It hasn’t been for me of late. As friends remind me to let the four tenants of Advent wash over me, I rationalize that need to grab that last one to find the first three. Each advent we light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and then the last candle on the wreath, right before Christmas, is love. 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that if we don’t have love we have nothing. Feeling drained of love by some serious family issues, I listen again to God’s word that love is not about receiving it’s about giving. Instead of feeling sorry for my own situation, I return to a loving posture with the hope that it will be received in the spirit of Christmas. Mary and Joseph received some unlikely visitors in the stable: sheep herders who had no time for synagogue, Zoroastrian priests who found God leading them through the stars, and yes, I imagine, the villagers who rejected the pregnant woman and her older husband also came to see Him that first Christmas. Could the miracle of Christmas be true that when we love others we have enough love to find hope, peace and joy in our heart? It worked for Scrooge. Maybe it will work for this old, misshapen child of God. And maybe it will be true for you also. Merry Christmas, Everyone.