The legend of the mistletoe, like many, has a variety of strands woven into its lore. From Norse mythology to Greek and Roman traditions, the mistletoe herbs has been seen as a medicine, a sign of vivacity and a protection against lightening and fire.
But we enlightened and sophisticated peoples of the 21st century know the true power of the plant - a reason to kiss.
Yes, the most important property of mistletoe is to give us another reason to plant a big wet one on someone we love, with proper consent of course.
It’s a fun, silly tradition. But it also speaks to something deeper. Kissing is a special thing - an expression of invitation and intimacy. It marks a bond between the participants.
In scripture, we find a couple references to kissing; the most well known being the kiss that Judas uses to identify Jesus as he betrayed him. We also find in 4 places in the New Testament where we are called to greet one another with a holy kiss. So what does it mean to advent people to do this?
It means that we should have an intimacy with one another that makes those outside of our faith wonder what it must be like to be loved like that. It means that we should be so tightly bonded to one another that we are invited into one another’s lives closer than even family. We like to tell a story of rugged individualism in our country, the legend of the self-made man. This, however, flies in the face of God’s plan for us. It isn’t good for us to be alone. We need and are indeed designed to be relationship with each other. And not just a passing acquaintance. We are designed to be so close that to be greeted with a kiss shouldn’t at all be odd, but rather desired.
So, in this advent season, as we wait for the coming of our Lord, let us be close to each other like those under the mistletoe, invited and intimate on life’s journey together.
VERSE: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Prayer: O God of intimacy, let us be bound to another as you are bound to the son and to the holy spirit. Let our lives be intertwined with one another and with you. Help us to see that alone we are weak and easily conquered, but united together in your name we have all we need. Bring us as one family, under the mistletoe and greet us with a holy kiss.