“O Come, All Ye Faithful”
United Methodist Hymnal – #234
Who would not love thee,
loving us so dearly?
The above lyric is from the least known stanza of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” In it, the lyricist speaks of embracing the Christ Child “with love and awe.” Isn’t that the way we would embrace any baby? Surely there’s no other way to embrace a newborn. We experience the awe when we encounter the miracle of life first-hand. And the love comes in the knowledge that this tiny person is dependent on us for absolutely everything. Of course, this is part of the magic of Christmas. This incarnation of God in human form. And not a King, or a warrior, as was expected of a Messiah, but rather a helpless, unremarkable baby. Now to clarify, most unremarkable babies do not have hosts of angels proclaiming their birth. Nor do most unremarkable babies have stars that appear and illuminate their place of birth. And most unremarkable babies do not have sages from foreign countries go on the ultimate quest to find the baby at the place of it’s birth. But perhaps that’s the most remarkable thing of all. God with us, Emmanuel, in the most unremarkable of settings, in the most unremarkable of forms. A baby. We know God loves us. The apostle Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. So if that’s the case, how can we keep from loving this tiny child? God’s love knows no bounds, and neither should ours. So here’s the question: If God love us so dearly, and it follows that we would love God the same, shouldn’t we love all the others that God loves?
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come
shall be able to separate us from the love of God
ROMANS 8: 38-39
Loving God, your love knows no bounds. Even as we stray, unaware of the consequences of our actions, you surround us in your loving arms, embracing us in love and awe, just as we would embrace our own children. Open our hearts to accept your great love, and the love of others, allowing us to also express and demonstrate the unconditional love you’re taught us, for our family, friends, colleagues, and all those you also love. Amen.
~Rev. L. Michael Kelley