Taking time to write about Advent this year is changing my life. There is such benefit to taking time to reflect on what God has done, and anticipate his return.
This post on love in the Advent series has been the hardest for me to write. It is not because I can’t see the act of love it was for Jesus to come in human form as our saviour, not because I can’t anticipate the freedom we will find as we bask in the perfect love of the Father when we go with Jesus, but because the depth of love shown is mind blowing!
“what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?”
We see often times in the Old Testament, a sentiment of “who am I that God would love me.” This is not a degrading thought. Rather, it is a realization there is nothing we could do to earn the love of God, yet he loves us just the same. The petition of “God come save us”, is not one of negotiation, for we don’t have anything to offer in exchange that he needs. Rather, it is an awareness that we are loved by God and he wants to respond to us in love. He wants to save us! It is not degrading, but an admission and revelation of how I am truly loved by God and how blessed am I!
The people of God, before Christ, had a deep longing for the way of love to once again rule. Israel had the law which pointed to a God of love, a God of compassion and mercy, which produced a longing in them for love to fully rule once again. This is where Jesus comes in. Jesus was born to rule in love. Jesus was born king over all. This was the long-awaited fulfillment of the law. It wasn’t the fulfillment many expected, and thus hard to see love was at work, as it often is for us.
There are so many times in my life I redefine what love is through my own experience or desire. It is as if I forget that the one who created everything was God. The one who defines what love is, is the same one whose nature is love. Every act of God is an act of love. I forget this sometimes.
The act of love at Christmas was something special. Jesus, who “did not consider equality with God as something to cling to”, came into the world as a baby boy. He came for those he loves, us. He came so we would have life with him. This is not the desperate act of one in need, but a selfless act from God who is love.
At Christmas we see love in the flesh. Every act of Jesus is an act of love. We can know love through the person of Jesus. He did not come just for us to see it modeled. He made a way. He was born so that he might die, be raised, and remove any separation from God who is love. He came so that we might encounter love.
It is so hard for us to understand the fullness of love as it is presented in God. We are creatures in need of so much. We have desires, good and bad, that we want to fulfill. We have insecurities and fears that influence us. God has none of this. He is fully self-sufficient. But he loves us, and sacrifices himself for us. He takes on the pain when we refuse his love and walk away from him, not because he needs us, but because he loves us. He demands our worship, because it is good for us to worship. He demands our surrender because he only offers what is best for us.
What we have to look forward to is a life free of separation from the Love of God. We can dwell in the presence of God always, know no insecurity, no fear, but be fully secure. When we know what it means to be loved by him, only then can we love like God. This is what we are anticipating in his return. For us who love God and have been called by him, that day will be one of encountering a fullness of love that pales the image of love we have seen here on earth. For now we see in part, but when Jesus returns, we will know in full our God and his love for us.
This week in advent focuses on receiving and knowing the love of God in Jesus. It gives us the opportunity to experience the love of the Father and ask him to redefine what we see as love. It allows us to look to Jesus for how to love, and respond in kind. It gives us opportunity to glimpse a future enveloped in the perfect love of God, and hunger for that today and in the future to come. Love is something that cannot be contained. True love experienced, results in true love extended. May you experience and extend the Love of the Father this day.