Written by Emily Heath
"Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early." - Hosea 6:4
Hebrew was my worst seminary class. I tried, but I preferred the structured New Testament Greek I studied to the more fluid (and written right-to-left) Old Testament Hebrew. And yet, there's one Hebrew word that I learned and have not forgotten: Chesed.
Chesed, generally speaking, means love. But it's a particular kind of love. It's been translated as "mercy" or "loving kindness" or "loyal love." In short, it's the steadfast love that all of us want, and want to give, but that only God manages to consistently achieve.
Hosea uses this word when he tells the people that their love is often found wanting. Theirs is more ephemeral, like the quickly-disappearing morning dew, than rock-solid. It's there when we start the day with the best of intentions, but by sundown it's often long gone.
Have you ever felt that way this time of year? Maybe you look around and see the ways we treat the world with a little more kindness. We talk about "hope" and "joy" and "peace" and "love". We give a little more generously. We celebrate a little more freely. And, if we're really doing it right, we come closer to being chesed people.
And have you ever known that come December 26th that was all going to change?
What if it doesn't have to? What if this season could be just the start? What if our love didn't disappear like the morning dew, but stuck around covering the world with renewal even after the season ends?
It can. And Advent is the perfect time to start practicing.
God of Steadfast Love, this year help us to do things differently. When we pack up the ornaments, may we forget to pack away our love for another year. And this year, may we open it up again, day after day, like the greatest present we have ever received. Amen.