Love Came Down...

Several years ago, I was invited to compose an article on the topic of love for inclusion in our church’s Christmas newsletter. I immediately accepted this invitation, certain that writing about love would be an easy enough task. After all, I am quite an authority on the subject! I adore my family, I cherish my friends, and I am devoted to my church. I am mad about Nutella and Italian food, I am partial to the color turquoise, and I have a fondness for most any genre of music (excluding heavy metal, of course, as it hurts my head). I delight in our dog (most of the time), I am enraptured by the beauty of creation, and I have a deep affection for books, especially mystery novels. Given my clearly exceptional understanding of its meaning, how difficult could an article about love possibly be?

The answer to that question became painfully obvious when I sat down and attempted to “wax poetic” about love within the context of the Christmas season, for it was then that I discovered I was in way over my head. Not even a dictionary or thesaurus could assist me in my quest to find words powerful enough… grand enough… to articulate the nature of God’s love for His children.

God’s love is:
  • An endless love extended to us even when we disappoint or disobey Him: (God) will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • An unconditional love bestowed upon us no matter the severity of our transgressions: He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. (Micah 7:18)
  • A grace-filled love wrapped up in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger, and presented as a priceless gift to the world: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:10-12)
  • A sacrificial love offered as a perfect and holy atonement for our sins: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
How does one begin to describe, much less comprehend, such a great love? How can one convey the boundless quality of a love like that? For generations, countless men, women and even children have endeavored to communicate the magnificence of God’s love, using any and all forms of creative expression. But the truth is this: no matter the vehicle we elect to use, it is impossible to describe the indescribable; to explain the inexplicable. We humans love conditionally, our love ebbs and flows with the ever-changing tide of our emotions, and our love for self often exceeds our love for another. So we are hard-pressed to grasp the endless, unconditional, grace-filled, sacrificial kind of love God has for us.

Christmas is nearly upon us, and the air will soon be filled with the sounds of the season, including carols about God’s love as revealed in the gift of Jesus Christ. One of my favorites is this work by 19th century poet Christina Georgina Rossetti:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

I may never be able to fully fathom God’s infinite love for His children with my mind, or satisfactorily explain it with my words. But I pray that God will allow this “lovely, love Divine” to penetrate my heart like never before during this holiday season. May I spend this Christmas rejoicing in, and sharing with others, the very good news that God’s amazing love did, indeed, come down at Christmas those many years ago, and that it remains with us still…