Recommended readings from the first Sunday of Advent (from the Revised Common Lectionary):
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you." (1 Thess. 3:12, NRSV)
What a key summary verse for us as Christians! May the Source of our love, the Lord Jesus Christ, grow love within us for one another and for everyone! Oh, yes, cries my soul!
But wait! If love increases, what must decrease?
Envy. Boasting. Arrogance. Rudeness. Insisting on my own way. Being irritable. Being resentful. Finding satisfaction in wrongdoing. Refusing to bear difficulties. Doubt. Despair. Refusing to endure whatever comes my way for the sake of love. (1 Cor. 13: 4-7)
If I am really serious about wanting to grow in love (or, in Wesleyan terms, "go onto perfection in love"), I've got to cooperate with God in removing that which kills love in my life.
It hurts, God. Some of these things have wrapped themselves around my heart and soul, binding them in sinful, unloving ways. Nevertheless, I choose love over self. This day, this moment. Make me more like my Savior.