Monday, December 21, 2015

"To Show God's Love Aright"

Time flies! It’s already the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today we lit the candle representing Love.

At church this morning the sermon was on the theology behind the lesser-known Advent hymn, Lo How a Rose E’re Blooming. Two phrases jumped out from the 2nd and 5th verses:

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

In Christian circles, we often say, “God is love.” But what does it mean to show “God’s love aright”? The greatest demonstration of God’s love was Jesus himself. God’s love towards us was sacrifice—paying the penalty of sin.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

The fifth and final verse of Lo How a Rose E’re Blooming points us to another aspect of God’s love:
O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

Advent reminds us that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. God’s love is demonstrated in humility—the Incarnation. He loves us so much that he made a way to save us. And he desired to save us so much that he humbled himself to become as relatable as possible. The God of all glory became a fetus needing nutrients from an umbilical cord;  a baby needing to be swaddled; a toddler seeking refuge in a foreign land; a boy knowing everything in heaven and earth yet acting with obedience to his mother and father; a simple man living as a poor carpenter in a small town.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:14-15)

How do we know Jesus loves us? Because of His humanity. He could have easily stayed in heaven, the King of Glory, yet he submitted to the Incarnation. While he lived on earth he felt our pain, our anxieties, physical limitations. He was mocked; he was abused; he was rejected; he was killed. He was tempted in every way humanly possible, yet he was without sin.

As we get ready to celebrate His birth, let us remember to ponder the significance of such a birth.

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