Summary: This is a message for advent that begins with the question of human affections and moves to the ultimate expression of love that is Jesus Christ incarnate.
Advent 4 Sermon - Love - December 18, 2016
What do you love the most in life? What do you truly cherish? Nowadays people talk a lot about things they don’t like.
There’s a lot of negative conversation going on, a lot of negative thinking. We’ve just been through the nastiest and darkest election cycle in history that for many brought out a whole lot of negativity and gloom.
But today I want to step past all that and ask you to think about what it is that you love most in your life. What do you really cherish?
And then I want to ask, do you give enough of yourself, of your time and energy to that which you love th5e most?
Love is a strange word in the English language. In modern usage, the word "love" gets applied to all kinds of what are really "likes".
You know what I mean: "I love that TV show"; I love that kind of chocolate";"I love that game"; “I love sleeping in in the morning”.
But the word love in its proper meaning should only be reserved for things that we truly cherish.
Human history can be thought of as being in two parts.
There is everything that happened since the beginning of time, since creation. That includes all the years and millennia that humans did not walk this earth, and it includes all of human development since the first man and the first woman.
Now that's a lot of things. And it would take something very significant to happen to create a break, a division in history.
Perhaps a comet from outer space that blasted the world to bits. That would be a significant marker in time. Existence itself would have to be rebooted.
What could divide the way we think of time?
Perhaps the founding of an empire that was to outdo all other empires.
But history is full of human empires - the Greek empire, the Roman empire, The Ottoman empire,
The Holy Roman Empire. And none of them were big enough to divide time.
What could divide time? What could be the reason that we’re at the end of 2016 and that it’s not December 4016? That your birth year is what it is? Mine is 1962. Yours could be 5374 but for an event that reset all time.
And if something did happen in our history to mark a division between all that had gone before and all that came after, would you think that that would be worth spending some time to learn about it? I honestly think so.
And I honestly believe that the quality of our lives will change when we embrace what happened to change the way we count time forever.
One of the most wonderful and peculiar things about the Christian faith is that it recognizes that the axis that time turned on was...perhaps surprisingly, an infant. A baby boy to be precise, who divided all of history.
Who could have seen that coming?
What’s cool is that someone actually saw it coming.
750 years before it happened, and at a time when the very notion of hope seemed dead, at a time of great sorrow and emptiness in the life of the people of Israel;
This person, the prophet Isaiah saw a vision of something so momentous, so beautiful, yet so unlikely and so unexpected. What did he see?
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
So Isaiah saw this vision long before the child spoken of was born. But born he was. And every moment in history before His birth we referred to as having happened before Him. “Before Christ”.
Every moment in history that has happened since we refer to as having happened “A.D.” Or Anno Domini, which means “after the year of the Lord”.
So in a very real sense, Christmas marks for us, every year we celebrate it, the moment in human history when the Author of life, the Maker of everything, was born on this planet. It marks the moment when God became man.
When Jesus was born, God took on human flesh, bound Himself to human bones, acquired a liver and kidneys, a spleen and a nervous system, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems, a muscle and skeletal system.
Not to mention all the complex emotions that define what it means to be human. God’s whole and complete person was given birth on that starry, starry night in Bethlehem in the infant Jesus. All of the Godhead bodily dwells in Jesus.