Advent – Love

John 1: 1-14 New International Version (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 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.

The gospel of John is the great book of love.  Love is mentioned 46 times in 135 verses, just so you know!

And the most quoted verse in all the Bible is in this gospel… John 3:16 – an amazing gift of love, that if we believe we will receive the gift of eternal life.

God loved us so much, that He emptied himself and became human flesh, in the way of a son born to a virgin in a manger. 

That is our gift of Love!

That is what this advent season is about, to focus on that gift, the true light, the birth of Jesus.

But, before God gave us this gift of his son, it was a time when people were living under the old covenant, under the old written laws. 

And God saw that we were not capable of living up to those written laws, because humanity wasn’t perfect and still isn’t – we need grace. 

You see, the law was given by Moses, ……but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The third verse of Silent Night speaks of the presence of God in human form …… the dawn of redeeming grace. 

God so desired to be “up close and personal” that God came to live, … breathe, … feel, … teach, ……to touch, …..and to love.  

And this verse contains one of my favorite phrases, ……“love’s pure light.”

God’s face…… in Jesus Christ…. has entered the world where it will be……… kissed by Mary, ….cradled in Joseph’s arms, ……and washed after the feeding and burping.

This is real human life, …….full humanity …….wrapped around ……’s pure light …….that will shine in a way that will be remembered forever.

It is a love that “redeems” us………….makes good on God’s promise…….. to be with us always.

The beauty of the hymn’s poetry in this verse speaks of light as a “dawning”.

Dawn rises up, ….dawn pierces the dark night, …..and transforms it.

John 1:5 New International Version (NIV)

“5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it!”

Light… life……., and we come ……seeking life….. and light …… this Advent season.

We light candles to remind us of the light of Jesus Christ. 

From the very beginning of time, when God created the earth and a beautiful place for us to live in, the Garden of Eden, with everything we needed to be happy and survive and live. 

God created and wanted the very best for us. 

Adam and Eve were not perfect (and consequently neither are we) …… they broke the only rule that God gave them, ……….and became separated from God because they sinned. 

And God took them out of the place that He had prepared for them.

And they went and multiplied in the world, and there were many. 

And throughout time if we look at the Old Testament, we learned that we were on sort of a roller coaster relationship with God, or at least that is what I call it.

The people in the Old Testament were in relationship with God…….. until things weren’t going their way,…….. and they turned away from God, ……..and turned to other things like idles, ………..whatever they thought would give them what they needed, ………..and when that didn’t work ………and they got themselves into trouble,………. they would turn back to God,……hurt,… God still responded and rescued the people time and time again.

And this continues today, doesn’t it.  We are still a broken people. 

And God still loves us — in spite of ourselves – and still wants what is best for us. 

God pursued us with his grace, ……… sending his son Jesus…. to save us ……..not condemn us, ….through his redeeming grace. 

Jesus died on the cross to take away the sins of the world and restore us back to that love relationship with God, and if we believe this, we shall have eternal life. 

That is God’s redeeming grace.  That not only are we restored or redeemed to that love relationship – be He goes and prepares a place for you and for me – in heaven – eternal life.

That beautiful place, where we have everything we need, that God intended for us in the very beginning.

 This has always been God’s desire for us. 

That no matter where we are…… in this journey called life, ……that God will meet us right where we are, ……in our messed up place whatever that is,….with loving arms wide open, …..ready to love us unconditionally, right now today.

The commitment of love, …..lived out in the birth,……life …..and death of Jesus Christ. 

And that light is visible in us …today….when we believe, ….and it shines through you and me to the world. 

The third verse of silent night, reflects the ….. son of God, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

May we reflect the glorious light of God’s redeeming grace, where ever we go.

Take a moment to reflect on the Light of the World by listening to one of my favorite songs: Light of the World by Lauren Daigle.

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