Love Came Down
One of my favourite Christmas carols is Love came down at Christmas, written by someone of deep spirituality who was from a very different style of church from our own. It gives a clue why our faith is different from all religions.
Have you ever driven on roads when all the traffic seems to be going one way? Recently I tried to do a local journey by car when Wolves were playing an important football match. It seemed as though every vehicle faced the same direction, heading at a snail’s pace towards the parking places near the ground. In the same way all religions seem to be about reaching up towards the divine, trying to reach God.
Some religions are looking for enlightenment through religious experiences, including those that use meditation to embed a philosophy or to try to blank out all rational thought. Some are looking for knowledge of spiritual things or some truth that might explain the complexities of human existence. Others urge their followers to try to live right, to try to reach a state of blessedness, or to use spiritual powers to achieve what they aim for. In each case it is as though people have an in-built urge to reach upwards, to reach for the divine, to reach for understanding.
All the traffic seems to be trying to get upwards. But the Christian message is that we cannot make it all the way up to reach God, so He has come all the way down to rescue us!
In 2 Corinthians 5:19 we read Paul’s summary of the gospel, the good news of God’s rescue mission:
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
Religion tries to get up to God. But God, whose nature is love (1 John 4:16), defies the traffic and reaches down. Jesus is God, but in human form (“incarnate” means “enfleshed” or in the form of humanity). He shows us what God is like in such a way that we can be transformed through friendship with Him. What an amazing message of reconciliation we have! And what better time than Christmas to let people know about it?
Love came down at Christmas,
love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, Love divine;
worship we our Jesus,
but wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
love be yours and love be mine;
love to God and others,
love for plea and gift and sign.