Today I intended to make my Come to the Manger Advent wreath. I got as far as cutting out the circle for the wreath and printing out the manger image I plan to paste at the centre. Then I stopped. Suddenly it struck me that what I had in front of me was an image of the circle of God’s love, centred around the coming of Christ into our world. I was so overwhelmed by this image that I have sat meditating on the love of God ever since.
One thing I realize is that there is a big difference between who we invite to the manger (the inner circle in my imagination) and who God welcomes to the manger. God’s love encircles all humanity – past present and future. God welcomes all who come – the foreigners, the despised, the abandoned, those who look different, act differently, worship differently. All are welcomed by our loving God. The circle of God’s love is one of inclusion not of exclusion.
Often we only invite those we feel comfortable with and when others want to join us we exclude them because they don’t fit our understanding of who is acceptable to God. What would happen I wonder, if we, like God were willing to go out into the highways and byways, into the places we feel uncomfortable, and invite in everyone we meet?
As you know I love Celtic crosses and part of my love is the circle that is part of it. It speaks to me of the love of God and the all embracing nature of that love. Not surprisingly, I ended up meditating on one of my Celtic crosses and then rewriting the prayer I posted a few weeks ago.