December 25, 2021

Love Made Visible


You must diligently observe everything that I command you; do not add to it or take anything from it.

Deuteronomy 13:1
The Ten Commandments seem simple on the surface. Ten simple rules to follow to live a life of faithfulness and integrity. But looking at them more deeply, it's obvious that any one of them would take more than a lifetime to understand completely, let alone obey perfectly. 
But add to the ten the hundreds of others that we find in books such as Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and we begin to realize that it would be impossible to "diligently observe everything" we've been commanded.
Christian theology is no less complex than the commandments we read in the Torah, but one of its main points is that One came into the world who was indeed able to "diligently obey everything" God commanded. Another of its main points is that this One helped us understand the one concept that lies at the root of all God commanded: Love. If we love God and love one another, then we are on the road to obedience. 
When Jesus was born, divine love was visible in the flesh. To grow with the Babe of Bethlehem is to mature in love—in all its joy and pain. 

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the Name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
 1 John 3:23
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
O Blessed One,
it is said that Christmas is for children.
Indeed, I agree:
it's only a feast for the young of heart,
a feast for finding beneath the tree
gifts to surprise and delight the eternal child.
Peel back the scabs of cynicism from my eyes 
so that this calloused and aging child
may see holiness blazing at the tip of every branch,
may see every tree as a Christmas tree.
Let me not be ashamed to dance with delight
at hidden gifts wrapped in shimmering paper
with bows of rainbow-colored ribbon.
But also grant me the youthful and wide-eyed wonder
to recognize, and even to expect,
life-giving miracles on every street corner,
miracles of kindness and generosity and care.
Gift my all-too-calculating heart 
with the excitement of anticipation
to truly receive the gifts of life,
the capacity to feast and rejoice.
Give birth within me to a spaciousness of heart
that can celebrate this feast
of the birth of Christ, the Child,
as a child.
 Edward Hays, Prayers of a Planetary Pilgrim 
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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