For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Oh my, how can I choose? There are so many ‘E’ words connected with Advent and Christmas.

There is expectation and excitement, eagerness and ecstasy, elation and exaltation.

Any one of them can serve as the starting place to explore the extraordinary compassion of God, who embodies the beauty of the divine heart in human form, embracing our messy, mortal lives that we may be filled with eternal love and life.

But if I must select just one word, I choose everything.

Nothing is left out, not me, not you, not the wonder of creation, the farthest star or most infinitesimal particles of nature. Everything, everywhere is embraced by the love of God who takes on human flesh—material reality, earthly stuff—in this child whose face we seek so earnestly as Christmas draws near.

With an everlasting love, God treasures us and takes on our flesh. This also means our flesh is taken into God, joined, combined, made one with the life, the love, the beauty and compassion of God that we might never doubt what God desires for us.

God so loves the world, the whole, crazy, infuriating mess. The great Loving Mystery, whom we shall never understand, embraces it all, holds everything close to the divine heart that all the life and love God is … may flow into us.

So imagine the child in the manger. Gaze on him whom we call Emmanuel, God with us, and know how graced you are and how beautiful is our God.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Pr. David L. Miller