May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12
“Two bucks for one shot? That’s outrageous! When I was growing up, you got three shots for a dollar.”
My inner protestor shouts as I walk the dusty, fried streets of the Cleveland County Fair. Everything is expensive, from the games to the rides to the funnel cakes. But this is not my first Fair, so I know the places where the quantity exceeds the cost, where you get the most bang for your buck, the most delight for your dollar. And when it comes to food, that place is Culler’s fries. The French fries are fresh and delicious there but what I really love is they don’t rip you off. The guy always has a big scooper that he splashes into the fry pan, bringing up a mighty haystack of golden goodness, which he then stuffs into the little paper cones waiting in their holders. He finishes his performance delicately, patting in the last few fries, stuck out like wild hairs, some of them defying the laws of gravity just to be included in my bouquet of Idaho glory. The pick-up station there is always messy, like some battlefield in a potato civil war, french fries lying everywhere, splashes of vinegar and grains of salt surrounding the corpses. Always messy. Because at Culler’s fries, they pack each purchase until it overflows.
Overflow is not a neat word, it is not tidy. Overflow means too much! (Think riverbanks, crowds, toilets, and Culler’s fries. . .) It means excess, surplus, or unable to be contained in the current container.
This season, we have celebrated together the Advent, the coming of the Christ-child, Immanuel, God with us. This child we celebrate is the overflowing love of God. It is too much Lord!
That you would humble yourself to share in our humanity, that you would wrap yourself up in this skin so that we might call you Savior. You have flooded and smothered us with your love, it is excessive and over-the-top, we humans do not deserve such a lavish gift.
But it’s never been about what we deserve, has it? It’s about your overflowing character.
We come over the hill of shame wishing for the rags of servants, and you wrap us in your robe and ring.
We come home expecting the scraps of your table, and you throw us your finest feast.
Overflow. It is too much.
And it’s the word Paul prayed for the folks at Thessalonica concerning their love—that God would increase their love and make it overflow for each other and for everyone else.
As we celebrate and remember this extravagant love of God in Jesus, may we reflect on what it means to have an overflowing love for each other. . .and for everyone else.
Matt O. 12.2013