After a lot of thinking about the impact Jesus made on the world, John (one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers) collected all the notes he’d taken over the years and assembled a biography so he could reach more people than word-of-mouth. As a prologue to the whole work, John placed this explanation of what God’s love looked like in the arrival of Jesus in that manger.
Regardless of what you could assume, regardless of what you have experienced, regardless of what comes to mind when you think of the word “love”, what does the manger tell you about what God’s love must truly be like?
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.*
To religious Jewish readers and to philosophical Greek readers, the “Word” stood for the highest possible power in existence.
To everyone, the “Word” choosing to become “flesh” would be outlandish. Most spiritual thinkers assumed anything physical was disposable, the invisible was divine. God in flesh was appalling. It is like John is saying, “I dare you to believe God would go this far.”
But because God was willing to be visible…
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father…*
In other words, we’ve seen what God is really like. And if Jesus is all we need to know what makes God so glorious, what is God like?
…full of grace and truth.*
What if these two qualities perfectly describe God’s perfect love?
The love we all most deeply need is full of grace: we are not loved because we earned it. We are loved because someone chose to love us.
The love we all most deeply need is full of truth: we are loved too much to be left alone, left in darkness, left deceived, left uninformed, left lost. Perfect love is honest.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
“God of perfect love, let me remember today that my performance has no bearing on how much you love me. Let me also remember today that I can seek your vision for life—your truth—because love doesn’t hide from me or lie to me. Even if it disrupts my life, I am being loved into something more.”
*John’s biography of Jesus, chapter 1, verse 14, emphasis mine