Summary: This sermon is about God’s love as expressed in the incarnation.
Love in Advent
Sermon for Advent IV - Love in Advent - By Rev. Matthew Parker - December 21, 2003
An unusual survey was done a few years ago, Participants in the survey were asked this question.......what 3 word sentence would you most like to hear or have said to you ? The top three answers were 1. I love you.....2. I forgive you.......3. Supper is ready. How does that relate to Advent? Listen and I’ll tell you.
This last advent before Christmas is Advent IV, and the focus is love. Love in advent. And we’re here to talk about God, because, contrary to nearly everything we hear in the world around us, Christmas is about God first.
But there is one very good question that is rarely ever asked, especially in church. How can we possibly say anything about God? Isn’t it arrogant to assume that we can? God is so great as to be unknowable, is He not? How can we ever hope to aspire to learn anything about God.
Isn’t that like a microbe or an ant trying to figure out and explain a human? Isn’t that just downright impossible? My answer might surprise you. My answer is yes...it is not possible for us to know God, it is not possible to learn anything about Him. Other than what he reveals to us.
You see God is actually not interested in remaining hidden. It is true that He is too great to comprehend, too beautiful to look upon, to complex for humans to figure out. That’s not something he’s tried to do...it’s just a fact of His nature, it’s who he is. And so when we are wise we don’t try to figure God out. We wait. We wait for God to reveal Himself.
Humanity waited for a very long time for God to reveal himself; while we were waiting...we weren’t just waiting,unfortunately, we were imagining. We were creating in our minds what God should look like, what He should do. God’s chosen people, Israel, while they were waiting, imagined that if God was going to do something, there would be a warrior come from God.
An Anointed One who would bludgeon the enemies of Israel. That’s the downside of imagination. Imagination is a very, very good thing. But when we imagine God, apart from the way He chooses to reveal Himself, we imagine what we think we want God to be. And then a funny thing can happen. Our idea of God starts to look a lot like us. He starts to think just
like us. And we run into big, big problems.
Well...what is God? God is one. There is none other beside Him. Who is God? His identity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity. Holy Trinity is another name for God. Always was and always will be. How do we know that? We sure didn’t figure it out using our ingenuity. We know it because God revealed it. Where did God reveal it? In His book.
In His Word. That’s where we learn everything real there is to know about Christmas.
Let me tell you a story. A very, very good story. God had a dream. A waking dream, for our God does not sleep. God had a dream. Human dreams often come from lonely places, or unjust situations, or poverty or lack. But God was not lonely. God had a dream that didn’t make up for any lack in Him. Before anything that was made by God was made, The Father,Son and Holy Spirit enjoyed perfect communion, perfect togetherness, perfect joy in their unity. Before anything that was made by God was made, God was not concerned about justice.
There was perfect rightness and equality and fairness within the Trinity. No need for righting wrongs. No need to fight for what was right. And there was no poverty or lack. No need. Nothing incomplete. Within the Holy Trinity there was all wealth, all satisfaction, all peace, all love. Perfect love. God was and is and evermore shall be love.
But something caused God to have a dream, to desire more. It wasn’t His joy that caused this, it wasn’t his wealth and satisfaction that caused Him to desire more. It wasn’t peace that motivated Him. It was love. Enfolding love, welcoming love and embracing love. God dreamed, and so a cosmos was created, and galaxies and planets. And one planet in particular among the planets capable of sustaining life. And of course life was created in animals and fish and microbes.
And God made one life form in particular among the others. He made one life form in his own image. A creative mind, a sensitive heart capable of giving and receiving love, a life that could aspire to things beyond survival. Humankind was created, male and female, in God’s image, to be with God. To enjoy Him, to do good, to love. Simply put, God wanted to