At the beginning of this Advent season, I strung lights all around the front of my house.
I'm fairly certain that all told there's several thousand lights in and around my house and Christmas tree. It's a Herculean task that always makes me wonder in the moment why I am doing so much.
But when I turn on the lights each night, I know in an instant the reason why we went to so much trouble to make our house so festive: It brings joy to my family, and to all who see it.
We learn so much about God from these kinds of feelings--what I like to think are memories of the Divine imprinted into our DNA. And the story of the gift of the Christ child evokes those joyful memories in all of us.
Through Jesus, God shows us just how far he is willing to go to show His great love for us. Through Jesus, God reveals His true intentions, His true heart for all of Creation. Through Jesus, God shows God's love for the world.
The kind of love that prompted God to become one of us in order to rescue all of us. The kind of love that drove the Almighty to become a tiny one in a manger.
The kind of love that caused the angel to say to the shepherds on the night of Jesus' birth:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."May you realize in the very depths of your soul just how much God loves you and has always loved you. May you live every single day covered in the warmth and beauty of God's great love. May it fill you with deep, undeniable and immeasurable joy.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.