Thursday, December 24, 2009

Adventing: O Holy Night

Sang this twice while running sound for both Christmas Eve services tonight. Several lines jumped out at me.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

I found this interesting. I hadn't ever really thought about this before - the soul feeling its worth with Christ's Advent. It reminds me of what Bauman and Stonestreet emphasized. In Jesus, we have the full revelation of who God is and the full revelation of what it means to be human. The psychosomatic unity we have as humans - creatures made in the image of God, being fully spiritual and fully physical - was most fully realized in the person of Jesus Christ - fully God and fully man.

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

How crazy is this. The Incarnation defies all expectations. God, the King of the universe, humbles Himself, becoming as one of His creatures. And yet He goes beyond this, taking the worst of the human experience upon Himself, that we might have life in His death. He willingly chose to identify with us, that our identity might be in Him, in His righteousness, before the Father. I have no other response but to fall on my face and worship, lowly bending all I am.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.

Last Sunday our pastor preached on love. Again, it was one of those things I should know, but that I'll be learning all my life. The oft quoted commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" is the most basic requirement God has given. It was given to those under the Law, in Leviticus 19. Love as understood in the New Covenant demands much more - not just loving my neighbor as myself, but laying down my life for my neighbor.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. - John 15:12-17

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