Advent Devotions 2017
December 22, 2017
God is Love
The variety of ways people picture God amazes me. Unfortunately, a great many of these pictures are not true to the revelation of God about the God’s self in Holy Scripture.
Some people picture God as a great judge, keeping track of our mistakes and sins, waiting to punish us. Others picture God as being distant from us, an unfathomable mystery, unreachable. Still others, neither see God smile, nor do they see any joy in him. There are others who fail to see the tender mercy, the loving care, the outreaching compassion of God.
Some of these misconceptions of God are caused by the behavior of church members who do not positively reflect God’s love. William Willimon, former Chaplain at Duke University, observes: “There are those who know everything about Jesus except that he is love, who use the Bible like a bludgeon, people for whom Christianity is a way to divide, separate, put down others. Without love, the Christian faith can become cruel and ugly.”
Advent helps us to picture God in his true likeness. God sent Jesus to us because he loves humankind. God sent Jesus to earth to provide salvation and redemption for us. God sent Jesus to teach us how to find love, joy, peace, and hope.
Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:32). Everything Jesus is, God the Father is also. This is the essence of the Gospel.
- Jesus loved; God loves.
- Jesus had compassion; God is compassionate.
- Jesus forgives sins; God forgives us.
- Jesus cared about the poor, the lame, the blind, the disenfranchised; and so does God the Father.
- Jesus loves us, giving peace and nurturing joy in the name of the Father.
Advent ushers in the celebration of Christ’s coming into the world. It is a season of anticipation and preparation. It is a time to reflect on the meaning of God’s love as revealed in Jesus.
St. John wrote, “…Let us love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7). He went on to write, “…God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.” (1 John 4:16).
This is why we sing:
“Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.”
Written by Frank Schwall
Art by Amanda