“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” (John 1:14a)
During this season of Advent, we purposefully pay attention to the way God reveals His Love for us by sending His Son, which John refers to as the “Word” of God. Literally the “theo-logos”, the theology of God, which is Love. There are so many things we can say about this – and so many things have actually been said, written, and sung. Many of the words have been beautiful. Some of the words are more reflective of the commercialization of the holiday season overall. Yet still – so very much has been put into words. (This is often why I write poetry.)
I remember when our kids were infants (or still learning English). They would quietly mumble, make all kinds of noises, or even wail to vocalize the thoughts and emotions churning within. Often as I held them, or sang near them as they slept I would sing the words of Irving Berlin’s “Just One Way to Say I Love You” which ends with the lines:
“I love you, and yearn for the day –
the day when you’ll say ‘I love you’.”
Sure enough, when they became old enough to speak (and ask a million questions), there would be those melt-worthy moments when they would choose, unprompted, to say “I love you.” It meant so much, and even as they’re teenagers now – still does.
I also remember some of the final conversations we had with my dad. I remember how thankful I was, while living and serving in Hungary, to be able to fly to Michigan during his final moments. Even in the midst of chaotic lock-downs and makeshift hospital procedures, I was allowed to sit with him. I told him I loved him, and felt the squeeze of his hand letting me know he could hear me. It meant so much to be able to put my words out there, and for them to be received in love.
Wanting to share a specific word, and to have it received by others is a human experience that reflects the heart of God who shares His Word. We see this heart and desire reflected, for better or worse, in the millions of social media accounts & blogs (this one included). In the past, I’ve often written off the desire to “go viral” or build up large amounts of followers as one that could never have redemptive roots or ends in mind. But as we focus on how “The Word became flesh…”, we can begin to see how all of these words flowing from so many minds and hearts are a global testimony that by its’ very existence, proclaims the God whose heart we have been created to reflect.
Before this is used as a theological defense for pursuing a career as an “Influencer” however, I would suggest that every good thing can be twisted and dis-ordered. Every word that we share finds itself ordered rightly only when/as it is offered in submission to the ways and Kingdom of “The Word” which is Love. This will not always (or usually) result in applause or an increase of followers. In fact, scripture warns that we may often expect the opposite (Luke 6:26).
Still, in the gracious heart of a Father God who listens to our collective voices, we can imagine something similar to a Father who holds His infant. He is so very patient and kind, as our words are not always reflecting of His nature or His invitation. The baby cries, often unintelligibly, for that which she knows not. She simply wants to know her needs are met, and that she has a source of comfort available. He patiently sings to her in response, “I have Loved you, and yearn for the day – the day when you’ll say ‘I Love you’.”
I pray God grants me even a portion of such a heart, as I long to Love those He loves, as He Loves…
(Happy Christmas & Christmas-tide to you and yours. May we receive & join the Living Word.)