Scripture: For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Meditation: In their book, The Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis and John Eldredge discuss the various metaphors used in scripture to describe God’s relationship to us. God is the Potter, we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Christ is the Shepherd, we are the sheep (Psalm 23). We were God’s enemies, but through Christ we are now His friends (Romans 5:10). Christ is the first among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29). God is the Father, we are His children. But, they write, the most amazing metaphor is that of God as the Lover and us as the beloved (Hosea’s undying love for his unfaithful wife, Gomer; Christ as the Bridegroom, the church as His bride).
But the authors point out in a quote by the Christian author, Philip Yancey:
Power can do everything but the most important thing: it cannot control Love… In a concentration camp, the guards possess almost unlimited power. By applying force, they can make you renounce your God, curse your family, work without pay, . . . kill and then bury your closest friend or even your own mother. All this is within their power. Only one thing is not: they cannot force you to love them.
Curtis and Eldredge explain that the reason God gave us freedom to choose is that He wanted lovers, not puppets. God is inviting us to become involved in a romance with Him!
The great philosopher, Kierkegaard, uses the analogy of a king who dearly loves a lowly maiden, but knows that while he can force her to become his bride, he cannot force her to love him. To win her heart, he gives up his throne and goes to her dressed as a beggar. God in Christ has done just that to win our love!
Again, Philip Yancey writes, “The deepest longings we feel on earth, as parents, as lovers, are mere flickers of the hungering desire God feels for us. It is a desire that cost Him the Incarnation and the Crucifixion.” This Christmas, how will you and I respond to this sacred Romance? And what will it cost us?
Sung prayer: What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul. (USA folk hymn)