“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
A newborn baby. An infant. A precious bundle swaddled carefully and lovingly in a soft blanket.
We gaze lovingly at him. We can’t get enough of his face. We long to be with him. We find that we are, indeed, capable of a sort of love that is pure affection. It wells up in us and overwhelms us with its warmth.
We discover that we don’t have to discipline ourselves to spend at least ten minutes a day in his presence. We find that we are not substituting service for something we just don’t feel. We don’t spend time with him out of obligation or duty or guilt. We don’t have to conjure up appropriate words of praise. We realize that we don’t have to try so hard. It just comes naturally — this sweet tenderness of heart.
This baby of ours. We don’t love him because of what he has done for us. We love him just because he exists! We adore him.
Isn’t that the way we all would love to be loved? Just because it comes naturally? We don’t even feel loved if someone has to “try” to please us or “sacrifice” to spend time with us. How do we feel when we know that a holiday visit is simply out of obligation? Is that how God feels on Christmas Eve?
We always talk about how much God loves us — that he gave us his only son — that he himself is love incarnate — and, indeed, what a gift that is! And we are right to praise him and worship him forever! But do we ever think about the nature of our love for God?
I wonder if God the father longs to be loved with that same sweet, tender, pure affection that comes so naturally when we gaze at the sweet little newborn in our arms. What if he is showing us, by coming to earth as an infant, that we really are capable of that sort of love, after all? What if he is teaching us through Baby Jesus that we can put aside our cynicism, our coldness, and hardness of heart? What if he is proving to us that we really can actually feel?
The miraculous paradox of Christmas (to me) is this: At the same time that God wants us to totally depend on Him as God the Father, he wants us to love Him as Christ the newborn infant. How God the Father must long for the same adoration we feel for our own babies. How weary He must be of our making excuses for our lack of love and our substituting “doing” for feeling.
Come, let us adore Him. Just because He Is!
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Merry Christmas, World!