As we enter this last week of Advent, I find myself thinking a lot about the incredible love of God, not the crucifixion but the incarnation, not the death of Christ but rather the birth. I am awed today as I think about this ultimate act of love.
God never comes to us in obtrusive, aggressive, judgmental ways but always like a vulnerable infant a newborn child who beckons to us with an offer of love that seeks to be loved in return. In the birth of Jesus we see the childlike God who comes to us and to all the world as an infant to be loved, and cherished, an infant who does not seek to control but rather to shape and change through the sharing of love.
The birth of Jesus teaches us that loving others means entering their world and being willing to meet them where they are at, listening to them, accepting them, allowing their attitudes to shape us. Jesus did not expect those around him to immediately enter his world – the kingdom of God world where love and peace and generosity reigned. He did not condemn them for not living by God’s loving ways. Jesus teaches us to offer love that is patient, kind, generous and forgiving as God, in Christ offered us.
What was the ultimate act of God’s love and how do we grapple with that as we live our lives in God’s world?
God’s ultimate act of love, I think, was not giving Jesus up on the cross but giving Jesus to be born amongst us. God not only allowed him to be born as a vulnerable infant but rejoiced at his birth. God willingly let go of control aware that this loving act would ultimately end in suffering and death. Yet through that act of God’s love a new world, a world of love was birthed into ours.
Surely the birth of Jesus teaches us that love means vulnerability. Love means giving our lives so that new expressions of God’s love can be birthed in the world around us. The infant Jesus, the childlike God is here in our midst, begging to be loved, and to be nurtured into wholeness.