My first thought about the heart is the actual organ. I picture it on an ultrasound beating, its rhythm steady and reassuring. A cardiologist once told me, the heart wants to beat. As a chaplain in the hospital, I verified this fact many times as I sat with patients watching the monitor. The heart would continue in the midst of the most challenging medical emergencies.
We associate our feelings of love with this life-sustaining muscle that keeps us alive. It’s not surprising since love is also what we need to sustain life. We all want to be loved for who we are. When we feel lonely or isolated, we may describe the feeling as a pain we feel in our hearts. The Advent and Christmas seasons can be especially difficult for people who have suffered a loss, for people who are separated from loved ones, and for people who are ill. At church, we have a “Blue” Christmas service for people who are grieving during the Christmas season. People who attend are grateful to have their grief acknowledged.
The heartbeat is like the love of God, steady, consistent, and life-giving. We know the love of God is like this because Jesus demonstrated it during his life.
Christmas reminds us that God’s love came down and was manifested in a man who loved all people especially the ones who were ostracized, isolated, and lonely.
Christmas is a time to reach out and share the love. Give from the heart.