Love made visible
By The Revd Robert Jordan MA
We are just hours away from Christmas day, and in this beautiful reading we follow the surprise of Mary's life... it is a story of amazement, acceptance, kindness, caring and love. Each and every one of these feelings are present, and don't always mean that Mary really understood what is going on. She does ask: How will this be? And finally she simply says: May it be... and each step that follows will be that of Mary being part of God's plan, which is still God's plan for today: love made real, so real that it will take the human form of a child, and this is the way God does things
And even when Christmas seems to be the embodiment of that love it is also a time of tension and conflict. As was the first Christmas. The presence of Mary, Joseph, the animals in the stable, the shepherds and even the eruption of the angels in song. But there is the background. There is the deceit and lies of Herod who feels threatened and seeks the death of the newborn. What does God do in the midst of all this?
Imagine if God had chosen to love but not to make that love visible. How would we have known about such love? God decided to do something quite different. God chose to make that love visible and continues to ask us to make love visible, even in the midst of threats and fear. Today we embody that love made real, made visible. In the first letter of John we read: Whoever does not love fheir brother and sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. It is all about the visibility of love in what we do, how we do it and what we say.
Christmas is the visibility of God's grace for creation. And grace cannot be grasped in invisibility, and we live in a world where so much is made invisible. And today as the day of Christmas God makes things visible. This is our calling and the challenge we face.
Our calling is exactly that - learning from what God chose at the time of the birth of Jesus we too are involved in that mission. Love made real. Love made visible, not because we are perfect, but because in our brokenness and vulnerability we are loved. And so we love those visible, close to us, nearby, and in this way we re loving God. We love because we have been loved first. Christmas reminds us of this love of God, and as we look around we see the great need of love made visible, that is needed. We approach this one step at a time, one person at a time, and we never give up.
This is the message of Christmas. And this is what we celebrate with communion, and in our next hymn - Love came down at Christmas.