Advent Encouragement and Prayer-Week 2
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. - 1 John 3:1
Advent Week 2: Love
Since the dawn of creation God’s love has been on display. Out of nothing, God spoke everything into existence. He separated the light from the darkness, the land from the water. He created the sun, moon, and stars and all the creatures of the earth, but his pinnacle of creation was humanity. He created us in His image to love and be loved. However, Adam and Eve doubted His love and goodness for them and rebelled against God. And yet, even in the midst of their disobedience we see God’s loving hand of mercy. He clothes them and gives them children and remains attentive to them and all of creation. This picture of radical love is found continually throughout scripture, from God’s promise to Abraham to His rescue of the Israelites from Pharaoh. Over and over we see that God’s love for His people is not dependent on their righteousness but instead is founded on His own character.
“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.” - 1 John 4:9-10
It is out of God’s great love for the world that He sent Jesus. Not only did Jesus humble himself and take on human form but he sacrificed himself in our place. He went to the source of all our pain and problems. On the cross Jesus took our sin and its deserved judgment and reconciled us back to God. And during his lifetime on earth, he taught us how to live lives of love in a world desperately in need of it.
And now, as we wait for Christ to come again we stand in the tension of what God’s love has done and will do. We daily balance trusting God's love as well as understanding that it does not spare us from pain in this life, but it will bring us safely to eternal life with Christ. In a world that is filled with uncertainties, fear, anger, and pain; God’s love is our anchor to hope in the midst of the storm. As Romans 8: 35-38 reminds us, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We can rest in the assurance that no matter how we feel, what we do, or our current circumstances, God’s steadfast love will endure.
In the midst of the business of this season, consider quieting your heart and meditating on the steadfast love of God. Perhaps start with Psalm 136:23-26: “It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever; he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Check out this week's Advent video on love from The Bible Project.