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Advent Reflection: The Love of Christmas

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:1-5,9,14

This week of Advent, we rejoice in the love of God, displayed most clearly and magnificently in the coming of Christ. John reminds us of creation, when God created heaven and earth by speaking all things into existence with a word: "Let there be light." John also reminds us of how God continuously gave his word to his people through the Old Testament. Now, astonishingly, the Word is revealed not just to be an it but a who.

"The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."

At once, God's promise to Abraham to redeem his children through his descendant is fulfilled. Jesus, the creator, came as the Word. But not how anyone expected. Instead of a king to rule over us, Jesus came in flesh to "dwell among us." God's covenant love is displayed vividly as his Son, "The Word," comes to earth himself to redeem a wayward people and fulfill God's promises. 

Even though Jesus is fully God and fully man, the incredible reality of Jesus's incarnation invites us to rejoice in the truth of "Emmanuel, God with us." Jesus "became flesh and dwelt among us" and created all things by "the word of his power," yet he came and dwelt among his creation. He saw our darkness and death, our suffering and shame, yet he came as "the true light," bringing truth and life to a broken world. He knows our rebellion, that we do not deserve rescue, yet he came and redeemed us with his own blood.

The word "dwell" is the same as "tabernacle" - God's original meeting place with his covenant people. Moses wrote of the original tabernacle: "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34). In the same way, Christ came to tabernacle with his people, despite our rebellion, darkness, and sin. He came "full of grace and truth" to reconcile us to the Father by dying on the cross in our place. What wondrous love is this! 

In 1 John 5:9-11, John also writes, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 

Praise the Lord today for his great love for you, shown most clearly when he sent his son to die in your place. Praise Jesus for coming to earth, fully God and fully man, to redeem you from sin and death. His love and his faithfulness are never-ending!

Unto us a Son is given, unto us a Child is born
He who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death's sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is his name

My soul magnifies the Lord
I rejoice in the God who saves
I will trust his unfailing love
I will sing his praises all my days

He who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death's sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is his name