Advent 4


We are looking forward to lighting our final candle this week, the candle of Love, together on Sunday, Christmas Eve December 24th.

“That… is the unrecognized mystery of this world: Jesus Christ. That is Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, was Himself the Lord of glory that was the mystery of God. It was a mystery because God became poor, low, lowly, and weak out of love for humankind, because God became a human being like us, so that we would become divine and because He came to us so that we would come to him.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer


5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

Psalm 130:5-7

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

 1 John 4:16


4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. …

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


The love of God is a profound mystery. It defies logic. Why would the Creator of the Cosmos, constrain Himself and take on life as a man? How can mankind possibly be that valuable to Him? As observed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor executed for conspiracy against Hitler, God chose to endure suffering here on earth, out of His love for mankind. The prophet Zephaniah says the Lord delights in us and sings over us. That unconditional love of God is the basis of our hope. There was nothing we could ever do on our own to earn or merit God’s love.  God loves us because at His essence, God is the embodiment of love.  What is love? God is love.  When God lives in us, our lives will reflect that love. Have you found yourself trying to earn God’s love? Did you ever make God promises in hopes of gaining more of His affection?

Paul explained to the church at Corinth what love in action is like. Read through the list in the passage above (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). Since God is love, you should be able to replace each instance of the word love with the word God. Try substituting the word God in place of “love” in this passage. God is patient, God is kind…  do you find it works? Are there any that you find surprising, like, God keeps no record of wrongs? Because of His love, God has placed on Jesus every sin you ever committed. And those sins are removed from you as far as the east is from the west. Have you allowed yourself to stop keeping a record of your wrongs? If God has forgiven you, there is no need for you to visit all the things you’ve done wrong in the past.

On Christmas we celebrate the most extraordinary love story ever told. The author of the devotional we used this year is Paul D Grodell 111. He suggests that there are three things every Christian must do on Christmas.

  • Remember what Jesus did for us, what He gave up and what He sacrificed.
  • Rejoice! The God of heaven now dwells with us. Because He has come, we can live fully alive!
  • Reflect on how Jesus gave up the glory of heaven to enter our world humbly, as a baby in a manger. To share the humanity of common people, as a demonstration of God’s astounding love.




Almighty God, you have invited us to love you and to love others. We know love because you have loved us. We celebrate, in this season, divine love becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Your love is not sentimentality. You love us too much to leave us in brokenness. Your love tells us the truth about our lives but also extends unmerited grace. Your love will not let us go. We are loved. Your Spirit empowers us to love. Because we are loved by you, we can risk loving others. Forgive us for our misdirected loves. We have too often learned to love the wrong things. Have mercy on us for allowing our fears to get in the way of your love. Teach us to love you fully. Help us set aside our fears so that we might love even our enemy. May the world know that there exists a God of incarnation love because they see that love made real in and through us.