We live in a world which is captivated by the concept of love, and is in many respects, obsessed by it.
We know when we feel its thrill and we know when we feel its crippling absence – but are these experiences – often felt during ‘falling in’ or ‘falling out of’ romantic love, the fullness of Love itself?
This is a question which is much easier to ask than to answer.
Certainly our culture provides us with a captivating image of romantic love – we see it in films, stories and television shows – and we are told that through an experience of romantic love, all our hopes and desires for intimacy will be fulfilled.
But, when it comes to what will truly feed and fill us, many of us feel that romantic love, though strong and compelling as it is, remains a shadowy reflection on a cave wall of something far more powerful.
Most of us are familiar with the rather cryptic phrase “God is love.”
So, perhaps, in order for us to discern the true meaning of love, we should first turn and look to God. God’s character and God’s love are most clearly revealed to us in his sending his Son Jesus into the world, the event that Christians celebrate at Christmas.
In Jesus we see the character of God revealed – our all powerful creator who has joined himself to us by being born in human flesh. And it is in his Son, Jesus, that we see the image of the invisible God and the power and beauty of unbounded love.
Many religions, spiritual practices and philosophies seek to find God, or if not God, some kind of utopia or divine substitute.
Yet the events and meaning of Christmas are quite the other way round: that God came into the world, born as a helpless child, to dwell among us, what’s more, searching us out, so that we – fallible and imperfect creatures – may dwell and abide in God’s eternal life and love.
Despite the darkness we see in the world, and the darkness we experience in our own lives which at times threatens to overwhelm us, Christians come to remember that God is with us.
No matter how bad things seem or get, through the Christ Child born some 2,000 years ago, God’s light has come into the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not, and will not overcome it.
However you celebrate Christmas, whether it is religious, or not; I wish you a very happy Christmas. May the joy and peace of the season fill your life and the lives of your family and those whom you love.