Christmas to Epiphany: Accepting God’s Gifts

December 26: Receiving the Gift of Intimate Love
Read Hosea 2:14-20, Jeremiah 20:7a-7b

“God is like a person who clears his throat while hiding and so gives himself away.

God lies in wait for us with nothing so much as love.

Now love is like a fishhook.

A fisher cannot catch a fish unless the fish first picks up the hook.  If the fish swallows the hook, no matter how it may squirm and turn the fisher is certain of the fish. Love is the same way. Whoever is captured by love takes up this hook in such a fashion that foot and hand, mouth and eyes, heart and all that is in that person must always look to God. Therefore, look only for this fishhook, and you will be happily caught. The more you are caught, the more you will be liberated.”  —Matthew Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckhart (1260-c. 1329) p. 60

God’s love goes one step further — beyond parent love to intimate love.  A parent knows his or her child better than anyone else, as long as that child is in a dependent stage of development. The love of a good parent for a child is fiercely protective, nurturing, patient, teaching, and willing to be self-sacrificing.

The intimate knowledge of a lover is one of profound inner discovery and understanding.  And intimate love embraces to create, through both joy and pain, something new, born of that love and surrender.

I am reluctant to surrender completely to such penetrating knowledge or to submit totally to such encompassing love.  But if I admit my fearfulness and let down my barriers and inhibitions, the result is boldness and courage!

Consider: God is not only my divine Father/Mother but also a Patient, Persistent, Pursuing Lover!  To receive this gift of intimate love, I must learn to surrender to God and submit to God’s will. The result is courage and boldness.

You speak to me as to a friend,
Yet your awesome power overwhelms me
You give me the grace to listen to your words
Which are those of a Lover
And I am your Beloved
The fire of your passion burns within me
Surely I am your spouse
And I shall know you, O Lord,
In the awesome thing you will do with me.  (Nancy R. Smith)


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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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