Advent Devotional December 24
Scripture: 1 John 4:7-12
My love list is similar to many. I love God, my spouse and children. I love lemon chills and vacations. I love putting in a good day’s worth of work and I love Sabbath. However, what may be shocking to know is that the Christmas story proclaims that love does not exist.
This is not to say that love is not real. Love is very real. But love does not exist as an object that we can point to the same way we can point to a tree or a chair. To echo John Caputo, Love does not exist, it insists. Here is an example.
When I walk through a park, I see many things. I also do not see many things. I walk through the park and walk past 100 people and don't see them. These people are like other things in the park—objects. The people might as well be trees or benches and I just don't see them.
However, the moment I walk past my son I instantly see him. I can tell you the color of his eyes and what he is wearing. I can tell you if he is happy or upset or if he is pretending to be a Jedi knight fighting off the bad guys from Skylanders with his fellow good guys from Paw Patrol. I see him and he is not an object—he is a subject. It was love that pulled him from crowd and into my view, from the background to the foreground. When we experience love, we are responding to the invitation of love to not see something or someone as an object, but as a subject. To "objectify" someone is to not experience love for that person.
This is why love insists. Love is everywhere, insisting all things into existence. If there was no love then all things would evaporate. One Bible writer says that God is love, and we all know that God is not an object. God is the animating force of all things. God is not a thing—God calls all things into being. Without the Love of God then it all ends. Or to put it another way, love never fails.
Great Love of God, grant us the vision to see our neighbor as a person and not as an object. Show us the Good News of your love we can see in the life of Jesus, who is love incarnate. Give us the courage to insist on love.
Rev. Jason Valendy