In his Christmas message, United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. John C. Dorhauer invites the wider church to ground our spirits in God’s love.
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I John 4.7
As we enter another Christmas season, I invite us to ground our spirits in this love.
Like all early Christians, John wanted to understand what the coming of the Christ-child meant for those who worshiped God through Jesus. He came to see that to be a disciple one must love. He focused his theological worldview on one core fundament: God is love.
That Jesus was born of God had become, by the time of John, a core belief of the early Church. That being born of God meant essentially that one was born to love was a particular distillation of John’s theology.
The stories of Jesus were being collected and told over and over again. In a world dominated by powers that oppressed and marginalized, Jesus’ power was unique in that it was offered precisely to those whose power the world neglected.
Jesus used love as his ethic, a love that recognized God in every human he encountered. Jesus saw dignity and worth in the stranger, the orphan, the widow, the leper, the prisoner, the poor, the tax collector, the sinner, the gentile, the enemy. Any one of these were seen by the powers of his time as expendable.
Law and mores of any time conspire to place limits on those whom we were required to love.
Into such a world a child would be born of God who knew love as the only thing the law would recognize.
It has been more than 2,000 years since the child born of love came to us. His disciples still recognize him and the incarnation of a God we know as love - and the world still struggles to love each other. Democrats despise Republicans. Muslims are terrorists and Mexicans are murderers. The rich demonize the poor. The prisoner is forgotten. The stranger, alien and immigrant are walled away.
Come Christmas, celebrate not just the coming of baby Jesus – but the incarnation of a child born of the God we know as love. All who love are born of God. We become the Christ-child in the simple act of choosing love.
Rev. John C. Dorhauer