ADVENT displays God's searching and seeking love for us in unmistakable terms. God loves us so much that he wasn't content to stay in heaven without us. God chose to come to us, suffer at our hands, and sacrifice himself so we could know the depth of God's redeeming love for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).
Jesus coming to us meant that he would die for us — for our sins — so we could be brought back home to our Father. Jesus loved us; not when we were lovely, but when we were powerless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies. In this way, God redefines love through the actions of Jesus for us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:6-11).
Jesus is the ultimate embodiment of God's love and becomes our example of how to live with love toward others:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:God wasn't content to stay in heaven without us. In love, he came to us in Jesus!Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8).
God the Father recognized the self-emptying love of God the Son and will honor the Son's sacrifice by raising him in glory so all may worship him:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
The incredible generosity of God's self-sacrificing love is that the Father chooses to make the Son's sacrifice the invitation for us to join him in that celebration of glory:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
God loves us in Jesus. Jesus' birth is so much more than a celebration for Christmas; it is the triumph of God's love over every power, obstacle, kingdom, rival, and culture so that flawed humans can share in his eternal glory!