For my final of four Advent posts, I look at the theme of love.

In the four-and-a-half minute video included below, there is a repeating refrain of "Love came down and the earth stood still." This phrase and the video's images bring home the smallness of the human creatures who are part of this story (Joseph, Mary, Jesus) and the hugeness of its significance. Love came down in the form of a baby and the result was that "the earth stood still." When Jesus, the maker of the world, was birthed into it, the world was changed as a result.

What does it mean that Love came down?

We often want to shrink the circle of God's love to include only those who think the same as us, believe the same as us, look the same as us, act the same as us, vote the same as us. The list goes on and on of who and what we would exclude from God's love, but God's love expands far, far beyond the borders we would make for it. "God so loved the world..."

It is ironic that the majority of those who follow Jesus in our time are those who were considered outside of the circle of God's love when Jesus was born (i.e., Gentiles) and yet, now, may fall into the same error of believing that others (people, creatures, the earth itself) are outside the span of God's love while considering themselves firmly within it.

God sent his Son for the world. Love came down. Below are some pictures that remind us that the world is a big place and God's love is expansive enough to include all peoples, all creatures, and all elements within it. If we are to love as God does, our love must be as expansive as God's. The first image is from the Orthodox Church and depicts Jesus being enthroned above all his creation. The other images are nativity scenes from around the world and include a variety of people and creatures who are part of this "world" for whom Jesus came. I hope you enjoy this visual feast.

Love come down and the earth stood still. This Christmas, may each of us fight against the desire to "claim" Jesus as only our own, realizing that God's love goes far beyond the borders we would construct in order to keep God's love inside.

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Merry Christmas!


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