Hi everyone. Rob here. John writes: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7-12).”
As we approach the 2nd Sunday in Advent it is good to stop and realise that Jesus is proof of God’s love for us. We give presents to show our love for others at Christmas time, but nothing compares to the gift that God has given us. I’m reminded of more words from John: “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. he came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the father full of grace and truth (John 1:9-14).”
We are beloved children of God because Jesus Christ came into the world as one of us. He shared our total human experience, from birth to death; from hunger and thirst to loneliness and grief; from laughter with friends to despair over human arrogance. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity… (Hebrews 2:14). He lived our life and died our death and conquered death for us so that we might live with him forever. He wants us to be with him because he loves us. Everything he went through on this earth, including taking our sin and brokenness and pain to the cross, was because he loves us. It’s an outrageous and scandalous truth; that “nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).”
The deepest desire in our hearts is for unconditional, eternal, divine love. Through Jesus we have it. Our challenge is not to settle for pale imitations or substitute it for religious duty. We are outrageously loved by the God of the universe and that makes us people who are free, courageous, joyful and agents of divine love in a fallen world. Love is at the heart of Christmas. It’s the heart of God that lies behind the incarnation. It is his gift to us this Christmas: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
God is love and love came down at Christmas!