When I opened the Advent and Christmas file on my computer this afternoon, I found three mini cantatas I wrote for churches I have served as pastor. All three used music selected by the Music Directors of those churches. The most recent was titled “What does Love Look Like?” and was based on St. Augustine’s question. When I read through this short cantata, I found myself reflecting on the magnitude of love wrapped in the life of that baby.
Of course, this time of year, we are likely to say love looks like a baby bundled in swaddling clothes and lying on a bed of hay in a stable. That’s God’s love.
And it is.
God’s love is also all the potential inside that baby. Love is that baby’s potential for compassion and wisdom that will grow inside of him until it pours out into the world. Love is the grace that glows in the gentleness of his eyes. Love is the light that shines when joy is shared with others. Inside that baby is the love that has always been and always is and always will be. Inside that baby is the love of God made real and tangible for us in the man Jesus.
God has always been and always is. Beyond time and space, somewhere in our universe and in our hearts, God is here with us always. But for a brief time, the Word of God was made flesh out of love for us. For a while, the light of life walked with feet like ours and breathed into his lungs the same air that sustains us. Jesus taught us what it means to love. He fed the hungry. He reached out to the outcast. He ministered to people in need. His love made them whole. In the person Jesus, we experience God’s love. In Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, he came to earth.
“What does love look like?”
Augustine asked and answered this question. He said, “It has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
That is what love looks like. We can see it. We can see it in the tiny baby in the manger. We can see it in the miracles of love as he walked on earth. We can see it in the compassion of his disciples. We can see it in one another. Love is here, even in the year of Covid. Thanks be to God!
May each of you experience the love of Christ this Christmas. It is a joy to be one of your pastors.