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Fourth Sunday of Advent: Wondrous Love

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.~Romans 5:6-8

Four candles blaze bright today. Hope brings a peace that breeds joy which celebrates love.

Love. Four letters forming a word that is used to express everything from an enjoyment of a favorite food to the passion a man has for his wife. And today we click a lighter and hover its flame above a wick and call it love. The love of God come down to meet us as a baby, born to die that we may live.

But can we actually come even remotely close to understanding what this love is that we proclaim on this fourth Sunday in Advent?

God is love. We know that well. He is more than loving. He is more than a giver of love. It is not merely a characteristic He possesses or an attribute he displays. He is love. The essence of God is love. The God who created galaxies and universes and light and this entire planet we walk on – He is love. And in His love He made us and chose the human race to be the mark of His image in this world. And out of love he stuck with us though we rebelled and wandered. And through immeasurable love He came to this earth to take on our failings and our messes, so that He could maintain a union with us and walk intimately with us – without our sin marring His integrity.

Is there any possible way to comprehend the magnitude of this love? Can we even begin to fathom the wondrous love that we signify with the lighting of a candle on this December morning?

Love is the foundation of the Christmas story. Love is foundation of our hope, the reason for our peace, the basis for our joy. Without love there would be nativity, no angels singing, no promise for restoration. There was no obligation on God’s part to fix the mess we got ourselves into, there is nothing that necessitates the gift of redemption He offers in Christ.

But He is love. And Love chooses to care even when we turn away. Love chooses to plan for healing even when we bring wounds upon ourselves. Love chooses mercy, even when we choose defiance. Love chooses grace even when we knowingly wander away. Love chose to become a baby who would save us, even when we chose to hang him on a cross and mock Him to His face.

In the gleam of the fourth candle’s light we sing, we rejoice. But do we know? Are we audacious enough to claim an understanding of this wondrous love? Or as it flickers can we only catch glimpses of what this love is that we celebrate and kneel in holy awe of this love too great to comprehend?

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