But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8
Have you been thinking about this wondrous revelation, that God “commended His love to us” as we discussed yesterday — God used the cross to “set this act of infinite mercy in the most conspicuous light, so as to recommend it to the notice and admiration of all.”
It’s really all I can do not to shout it in all caps.
But this verse Romans 5:8 came up in my Advent reading. We know now how it relates to the cross: God wanted to put his infinite act of mercy on a grand display, and no one who looks at the cross can doubt his love. But how does it relate to Advent?
Perhaps Christ’s whole life was designed in the same way — to position his infinite mercy in so conspicuous a light as to recommend it to the notice and admiration of all.
Imagine God planning the story, perhaps with the most creative angels, brainstorming — “How shall we structure the arrival of the Lamb?”
The angels, loving the Son so much, come up with beautiful and magisterial entrances for him — coming in the clouds with an army of angels, that kind of thing.
But the Holy Spirit, whispering in the ear of the Son, has a different idea:
“His arrival can’t be grand; that’s not how love descends. It comes humbly, but memorably. What if he arrives as a baby, like all human children, but with a beautiful story that people would love to tell to their own children?”
So they decide on Bethlehem, a stable, a long journey, far from home, turned away at the inn — all so very human and inviting of empathy.
And so indicative of how love arrives; its arrival is quiet but filled with an ethos we never forget.
Of course this story couldn’t be told in a vacuum; it required thousands of years of history, of shaping of people that could read and write, that had laws and prophecies that could be bent to accommodate the arrival of God-with-us in Bethlehem.
So Adam and Eve gave way to Cain and Abel who gave way to Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to a nation that reflects the life of Christ with its captivating beginning, its many sorrows, its complete destruction, and its resurrection.
All this to create for us the story of salvation, placed in so conspicuous a light as to recommend it to the notice and admiration of all. Merry Christmas.