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Advent 2023: LOVE

Dec 22, 2023 | Institution / General

Love in Swaddling Cloths
By Madison Franks, Student Writer

Sometimes I get caught up in the passion that our God has for us. He didn’t have to become like us, and yet love compelled Him to. He didn’t have to choose to be born in the place where donkeys sleep, and yet He did. He didn’t have to begin in this world as an infant who couldn’t hold His own head up, and yet that’s exactly how He chose to come. This love of His compelled Him to become one of us so that He could save us.

This love is an incredible testament to how much dignity we as human beings have been granted because of Christ’s birth. Our God saw fit to relate on a personal level to our temptations, to our hurt, and to our emotions. He made the decision to have empathy rather than sympathy in relation to our lives. Our God chose to love us loudly in the only way we might ever truly hear it – by turning into one of us. We have been granted incredible dignity because of this as a result because the Being who fashioned the entire universe is the same person who once asked an outcast for a drink of water because He wanted to relate to our thirst. The One who designed the way mathematics and gravity work is the person who had tears fall on His cheeks when a close friend died because He wanted to relate to our grief. Because of love did our God want to walk among His people, and in this love was our God born on a pile of hay.

This love God holds for us in His hands is spilled out onto our lives, and yet He never runs out of it. His hands have proven to be big enough to hold us and all we bring with us, and they were even big enough on that first day in the manger. Even when all our God could grasp was a rattle and His mother’s smallest finger, He still contained all the love in the world in those chubby fists of His. Within every little breath was love. As His new lungs expanded for the first time in the stable, the same love was present that would one day draw Him to the cross on which His breath would be taken. His newly formed eyes may have seen what life on Earth would hold for Him, and yet He still came.

Our God lying in a manger was Love in swaddling cloths. It was the thought of saving His children that brought Him to this modest place, and it was love that gave Him the name Christians recognize most prominently at Christmas time: “Emmanuel.” Indeed, He is God and He is with us.

Advent Contemplation
By Nicole Barnabé, Associate Dean for Providence Downtown

I feel compelled to admit that my Christmas tree is awful: Barbie pink with mostly pink, white, translucent, or metallic ornaments. It’s older than my parrot. I love the traditional and homey approach to the Christmas holidays, with decorations or practices that may be inelegant but are heartfelt. I put my tree up anytime after Remembrance Day while playing Christmas carols. When I was teaching at Université de Saint-Boniface, I thoroughly enjoyed belonging to the Christmas choir that sang at midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Those French-language carols are part of my bones, I think. Of late, I’ve enjoyed the Pentatonix Christmas carols quite a bit. I think that Christmas music is wonderful: we can say right out loud that we love God, we love the gift He gave us in Jesus Christ who came to teach us what love really means, and we love each other in fellowship. We can’t really shout that out on street corners and in malls the rest of the year.