Advent Candles (3)

The candles of Advent have never been more relevant.

Week 1 — The Candle of Hope, for a world filled with loneliness, brokenness, bitterness, and burden.

Advent CandlesWeek 2 — The Candle of Peace, for a world that wants to live by the sword and that naively believes violence begets security.

Week 3 — this week — the Candle of Love, for a world skeptical of the power of love.

Who can fathom the profound love of God in sending His Son for us? “God so loved the world….” We might have opted to simply start over, but the Father orchestrated our redemption. Love drove Him to retrieve us. Love compelled Him to reach out to us. “How deep the Father’s love for us; how vast beyond all measure.”

Such love defies our imagination.

Who would create a god who loves enemies and dies for sinners (Romans 5:8-10)? Such love looks weak. It lacks the bold and aggressive touch that gods should have. Vanquish enemies; don’t love them. Eradicate all foes; don’t die for them.

Senseless love.

Yet, this week of Advent calls us to the same.

“I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven…. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the people you despise do that much?” (Jesus, Matthew 5:44-46)

Preemptive strikes are a common strategy in sport and warfare. “Offense is the best defense.” “Hit them first; hit them hard.” “Don’t give them an inch.” “They deserve what’s coming to them.”

This Christmas we will love on family and friends, giving gifts, sharing meals, and spending time together. That’s not Christian; it’s human. The Candle of Love challenges us to consider something profoundly different, to reach out to those who hurt us or seek to hurt us.

Those folk might be in our churches, our workplaces, our schools, or (yes) in our families. Prickly, painful, spiteful, vengeful, hurtful, unkind, unfair, rude, harsh, and demanding. We all know people who act these ways towards us. We’ve acted that way towards God.

But the coming of the Baby rather than the arrival of the Warrior calls us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), reconcilers (2 Corinthians 5:18), and forgivers (Ephesians 4:32).

The Candle of Love declares afresh the Gospel demand; that we open our arms to “the enemy.” Christmas is the less when we fail to reach out to the least in our circles.

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2 Responses to Advent Candles (3)

  1. Heide says:

    Oh David, what a post… It is so much easier to read the gospel than to act out the gospel sometimes, isn’t it??
    I’m in Myrtle Beach with my mom and aunt’s… My family are very controlling folks, and my mom and I are kinda the peace makers in the whole group, so we are experiencing this right now (mom moved here and just had to have a pace maker put in ~ the peace maker needed a pace maker… 😳!! Please say a prayer for her friends…). And I also can’t help but relate to the signs of the times, in the middle east and here at home… God bless the peace makers, God bless America, God bless Israel and all those in persecution right now and always! Your LOVE conquers all hearts Lord!! I like how you said – we are in the season of CHRISTmas right now, the birth of the baby Jesus, not the warrior from Revelation who comes back riding on His horse to win the final fight… A lot to consider here, thank you for this viewpoint… 😄🙆

    • David Timms says:

      Heide, praying for you in this season. As you receive grace, be a vessel of grace. 🙂 Sorry to hear that you have needed a pacemaker! I hope you’re feeling much better. Blessings.

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