A Connected Christmas | Day 1: The Power of Love
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” – 1 John 4:7-9
John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people. John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened,and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy. – Luke 3:18-22
At Wayside Chapel, our highest aim is to love everyone who walks in. We believe that no one is a problem to be solved, but a person to be met. No one’s life is changed by a management system. However, when someone feels loved, rather than worked on, we know something great can happen. Love can turn lives around.
In these readings, we are invited to witness a moment of divine acceptance and love. We all need to have moments like this in our lives. God is the God of love. This revelation isn’t as ‘divine’ as we would like to think it is. We imagine this scene to be one where the heavens open and all are blinded by the light as a dove descends and a voice is heard. The text is scant on details and there is not much indication that anyone heard, let alone trembled. This is the kind of moment that’s for us, rather than for others. The work God does in our lives is rarely done in public.
The word used for dove here is also the word for pigeon. How amazingly ordinary and yet how amazingly hopeful this is. Imagine this revelation coming to us as ordinarily as a pigeon flying down from the sky. Paula D’Arcy’s most healing line from her life is that ‘God comes to you disguised as your life’. Not in the life we imagine but the one we have. In the ordinary moments of living, God comes to us in extra-ordinary ways.
As we are loved, so we love others. We need to know deep down that we are loved by God and we need to accept God’s acceptance of us. We aren’t loved because we are good. We are loved and that can make us good! We love because He first loves us and extends this love to a world that sorely needs it right now.
written by JON OWEN
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