Kiss: A Mark of Affection or Respect

Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85:10 NIV

Mistletoe

Walter de le Mare

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there.

Kissing…ewww! That’s what a first grade boy thinks. Kissing…ahhhh. That’s what a romantic young girl dreams while she stands under the mistletoe. But what does kissing have to do with Christmas?

“In eighteenth century England, a young woman could not refuse to be kissed if she was standing under the ornately decorated “kissing ball.” But the origins of mistletoe’s significance go further back to a Greek festival and early marriage rites. It was believed to bestow fertility and “life-giving” power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up.” http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/history/mistletoe.htm

In Eastern cultures, to kiss someone was to greet them. We could equate this with our handshake. Again I ask what all this has to do with Christmas. The answer came to me through the psalmist’s use of personifying love and faithfulness, and righteousness and peace. We find these four rich concepts greeting and kissing one another. This metaphor points us to God’s desire to connect with us. I especially like the image of how “righteousness and peace kiss each other;”giving us the image of these two abstract ideas sharing something. Righteousness shows respect to peace, peace affectionately embraces righteousness. This coming together of love and faithfulness, and righteousness and peace embodies the whole of Christmas. Christmas becomes the greatest gesture of all. God kisses the earth with His presence. All-righteous God takes on human flesh. The babe born in the manger grows into the faithful expression of God’s love. Loving us all through his obedience to the Father, he graciously takes our place on the cross.

Jesus accepts the kiss of death for us. He brings peace to our warring hearts, and offers the way to make-up with our Creator God. Leaving us with the holy kiss of His Spirit, he asks us to show the same respect and affection for one another, which he had for his Father and for us.

As we enter the third week of Advent will you join me in the Prayer Appointed for the Week:


Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory now and for ever. Amen

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