At this time of year, many of us struggle to reconcile the push/pull of seasonal happiness with our own deep yearning for something deeper, something richer that adds meaning to our relationship with God and creates a more personal experience of God present to us in Christ at Christmas. What if we were to transform our Advent journey toward the manger from an exhausting daily slog through the traditions and secular rituals of going, doing, getting, and giving into an active quest for the true meaning of Christmas? What if we were to find in Christ God’s response to our prayers for relationship, restoration, and renewal? What if we were to perceive the Messiah as the answer to “the hopes and fears of all the years”?
Christmas is about the gift of love. Christmas is where our mortality intersects with God’s perfect love. In 1 John 4:18 we read, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
The dilemma of Advent and Christmas is whether we succumb to our human fears, or whether we find within God’s grace the perfect love that casts out every fear. We are created by God to live in the kind of perfect love that triumphs over every fear. We are not intended to live in fear, or with fear left over from the past. We are created to live in the perfect love of God.
Because we are born of God, we know God. God lives in us. God lives through us in the love made manifest to us in the birth of Jesus, the gift that expresses the perfect love of God to humankind. At this sacred, holy season:
- Christmas light dawns when God’s love reaches into our heart with the mystery of divine comfort.
- Christmas light dawns when the presence of God assures us that there is life beyond the death of our loved one.
- Christmas light dawns in moments when our heart is strangely touched by joy.
- Christmas light dawns when someone reaches out to us in love.
- Christmas light dawns when we reach out to someone in love.
- Christmas light dawns when we receive an unexpected blessing.
- Christmas light dawns when we are a blessing to others.
At Christmas, we discover anew the light of God’s love—the love that comforts our heart, the love that holds us close, the love that defeats every fear, the love that overcomes our grief.
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
1 John 4:16