Kris MacQueen, Dec 23, 2023, 3:59 AM
Kris MacQueen National Catalyst of Vineyard Creative

by Kris MacQueen

This Sunday, we light all four Advent candles and reflect on the incarnation of love, which is to say, the literal, corporeal coming of love into our world. Christ, the Word of God made flesh... The very one of whom the scriptures boldly proclaim: "God is love."

In Christ, love has a location. A physical form. Edges. That's a profound thing to consider in itself, maybe even troubling... that love might have edges. But of course... it must. Because there is such a thing as being unloving. In this world, there is indifference, hate, selfishness, self-righteousness. Golly, in my life (and if you're honest about it, in yours too) those anti-loves are sometimes on display... Sometimes loudly. So yes, love has edges. Love is present... and also sometimes not.

The Apostle John is my go-to gospel writer in the Advent season. He seems to understand the wrestle... the waiting-in-darkness bits of life find a true friend in John. He writes to those living in darkness with the incredible declaration that within the darkness, a light shines... a light that will not be overcome, no matter the darkness.

And so, it might make sense that as I've been reflecting on this for the past month or so, I've not been able to detach another word from love: Light. Thanks to John, light and love have been bound to each other in a way not unlike a perfect pairing of food and drink. The sort of pairing where one element perfectly completes the other. Light and love. Both described by the gospel writer as ways of identifying God. Some beautiful math emerges here... some stunning deductive logic work: God is light. God is love. Christ is God, therefore Christ is light and love.

Like love, light is hard to define. We know it when we see it... or rather, we know when we see by it. Light is both a wave and a particle at the same time, and it defines the upper limit on movement (nothing can go faster than light, sorry Trekkies). Oh, thank God for the wisdom of this particular pairing. Love is also two things at the same time... an idea, and a tangible something. By love (and only love), the purposes of Heaven advance, and those purposes can't advance faster than the speed of love. And so, this Advent, we must wait (and anticipate) at the speed of love if we are to keep in lockstep with the coming Kingdom of God.

Incarnation looks like love and light filling the world. And Advent isn't actually about simply remembering or retelling the story of that one time, long ago, when Jesus came into this world in physical form. It's actually about anticipating the fulfillment of what was begun in Christ so long ago. Yes. Our world contains much darkness. Our hearts contain much darkness. But a light DOES shine in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Here's one final, very hopeful thought for us this 4th Advent. Somehow, bound together in Christ... the Love that He embodies... if we are to believe the gospels, it radiates... everywhere. Yes, love has edges, but its invitation doesn't seem to. The invitation to the Love of Christ is everywhere. Everywhere. That bears remembering in our waiting, weary world.