Love Came Down

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favours!

There is a beautiful hymn written by Christina Georgina Rossetti entitled Love Came Down at Christmas.  Perhaps you have sung it a number of times as well.  Let me remind you of the lyrics of the first verse:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
star and angels gave the sign.

The birth of Jesus Christ is filled with many interpretations and theological understandings as the timeless God entered into time in the form of Jesus Christ. But it is celebrated in a enormous number of ways that seem far removed from God with us. Christmas is often filled with chocolate, coloured lights and glistening trees, and while all this is beautiful, it can be hard to focus on that love coming down at Christmas.

For at the heart of Christmas is coming to understand more about God and God’s relationship with humanity. A relationship centred on grace and love, seen in forgiveness and blessing, grounded in justice and hope. We discover that God is desperate to have a closer relationship with us, inviting us to uncover more about the meaning of abundant life in this world and the world to come. All of this is wrapped up in our celebrations of the birth of Jesus but often that gets missed in the commercials on television. But our hymns often get to the heart of it and Christina Rossetti’s is no exception. 

Love came down at Christmas, she wrote long ago. And ever since we have been trying to fully interpret and understand what that means in our living and our praying and our calling. That God so loved the world that God came to us to reveal our true purposes and awaits our responses. For at the heart of life, at the centre of living, at the core of what it means to be human, we discover that it is love, love of God and love of neighbour that shapes and informs us. And Christmas is about naming this discovery.

The third verse of Christina Rossetti’s hymn draws us deeper into this discovery:

Love shall be our token;
love be yours and love be mine;
love to God and others,
love for plea and gift and sign.

Archbishop Michael Curry wrote this: “When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.  When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way, there’s plenty of room for all of God’s children.  When love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family.” 

May your Christmas be filled with love. Love that came down at Christmas to change and transform to help us see anew that indeed God is in our midst.  God is in our midst, inviting us to live in imitation of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.  To live like Jesus in ways that transform our lives and our world.  May your Christmas celebrations honour this love of God that came to us in a manger long ago and continues to come to us each day. 

Merry Christmas!