Daily Devotion - Wednesday, December 23, 2015
This is the fourth week of the season of Advent. Throughout the season of Advent we'll be focusing on what it means to be full of expectation and anticipation during this blessed time of year. We'll also be lifting up the various weekly themes of Advent, corresponding to the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath. This week our theme is "Love."
"Why doesn't God love me?" "Why does it feel like God has cursed me and my family?" "What kind of God would let that happen?" "Where is God in the middle of all of this?"
These are the kinds of questions I've had people ask me over the years, and there's no easy answer to any of them. What's worse is that these feelings of abandonment can be magnified during Advent and Christmas.
Think about it. When you are feeling like God isn't on duty any longer in your life, it can really stink to hear a bunch of people do nothing but talk about the coming of the Christ child then go about singing carols, lighting candles and exuding joy and happiness.
This particular season of Advent has nearly come to an end. But the waiting and anticipation that we've experienced has taught us something about living the Christian life: It takes trust. It takes patience. It takes a particular measure of faith in the great big love story that God is writing.
The Apostle Paul believed that through Jesus Christ God fully demonstrated his deep and abiding love for God's children. He also believed that there is absolutely nothing we can do to be separated from that great love.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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. (Romans 8:35-39)
In case you were keeping score while reading Paul's words, what he means is that there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from God's love. God's great gift of his Son, Jesus guarantees this.
God so loved the world (and you) that God went to the furthest lengths that God could possibly go in order to show that love. He became one of us in order to rescue all of us. We are not abandoned. We are not left out in the cold. We are not alone. God is near. You are loved more than you could possibly know.
May you experience this day the unfailing, unwavering love of God through the gift of God's eternal, creative Word, Jesus Christ. May you feel God's loving and abiding presence all around you, in you and through you. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Amen.