We are in the Season of Advent. The time of preparation for the ‘Coming’ (the word Advent means coming) of Christ’s Birth. Each week we light a candle to commemorate the themes of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Last Sunday we lit the Candle of Hope. It remains lit as we remember that Christ, who was born in Bethlehem, will come again to fulfill all of God’s promises to us. The second candle of Advent is the Candle of Love. God’s love is a perfect love. He holds nothing back (He loves us so much He sent His only Son in order to prove it!). God, in love, gives us everything we need to live a life of hope.
This morning I read the following from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s I want to Live These Days With You: A Year of daily Devotions. It is entitled The Mystery of Love. This is what Bonhoeffer wrote:
Mystery does not mean simply not knowing something. The greatest mystery is not the most distant star; on the contrary, the closer something comes to us and the better we know it, then the more mysterious it becomes for us. The greatest mystery to us is not the most distant person, but the one next to us. The mystery of other people is not reduced by getting to know more and more about them. Rather, in their closeness they become more and more mysterious. And the final depth of all mystery is when two people come so close to each other that they love each other. Nowhere in the world does one feel the might of the mysterious and its wonder as strongly as here. When two people know everything about each other, the mystery of the love between them becomes infinitely great. And only in this love do they understand each other, know everything about each other, know each other completely. And yet, the more they love each other and know about each other in love, the more deeply they know the mystery of their love. Thus knowledge about each other does not remove the mystery, but rather makes it more profound. The very fact that the other person is so near to me is the greatest mystery.
Of course that Christ would want to get close to any of us is the mystery that we will ponder from now through eternity. In the Gospel of St. John we are told that 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. God’s perfect love is shown in and through Christ. And His love never ends.
This morning at City Church we lit the candle of love to remind us that Jesus brings us God’s love and shows us how to love others (my life for yours). This ‘mysterious’ love of getting close to another is like a light shining in a dark place. This is the love we find in Christ. A mystery indeed!