Can you imagine that look? A decision between a father and a son from before forever now gets played out. And the Son prepares to leave heaven and enter a world of failed love, poisonous deceit, unthinkable violence, sickness, bigoted arrogance, fear, darkness, endless vanity and screeching metal.
"Son, are you certain?"
(long pause) "Yes."
And then they see deeply into each other. Diety staring at Diety. It is the exchange of love. Eternal, unspeakable, perfect, joyous, heartbeaking, heartfreeing, unimaginable love. Perhaps equaled only by the exchange of smiles at the moment of the Son's awakening in resurrection, they stare in utter purposefulness and tenderness into each other's hearts.
And so it happens. The plan is set in motion. Into real time, into an exact location.
God invades a dying planet in the form of the tiniest and most fragile of life.
And the Father, back Home, mouths words only He will hear:
"Hello world. This is my Son. My only Son. Please, please. I know what you will do. But I have to ask. For even I am helpless to stop what My love has set in motion. Please. I am the only one in the universe who cannot call out to someone stronger for help. I must call upon the mercy of humans."
Thirty some years on earth blur by.
And then several thousand years more. For His life and death and resurrection on earth did not immediately solve this planet.
But it will.
And somehow, unbelievably, inconceivably, the story reaches us.
It would be an epic tale beyond all others if God only endured our very existence and chose to not destroy us, after all we have done. For we know ourselves. Each of us would have set this ball in destructive madness, if given the chance Adam had. He just got there first.
But this happened. Love found its intended object. Us.
There is no way to express such love. Only this: That indescribable look of love the Father gave to the Son? God now gives it to each of us. All of us! We, who somehow have found ourselves risking that Jesus did what His Father claims He has done.
At any time, at all the time this is now true: the Son says that He loves us to the exact extent that His Father loves Him. The Father claims the same.
He stares into my eyes. Even Jesus and the Father have not experienced a greater expression of love. (John 15:9)
(Long silence of worship and stunned near disbelief)
This cannot be. This must be wrong.
But there it is, written with the same breath that God uttered John 3:16.
...question His taste but do not question His character. This is the extent of glory of the birth of Jesus Christ.
And so, the depth of love expressed in heaven, is now poured upon mere humans. But not the humans we remember. New creatures, fully changed, newly created. Christ in them. Christ fused throughout, over, under, above, inside, completely rewired into them.
Our behaviors can no longer define us. Our failures can no longer absorb us. Our unmet expectations of the pace of our maturity can not steal our joy. The disease of humanity, foisted upon us even before we could defend ourselves is no longer the main plot of our stories.
I am, you are, we are, undefeatably brand new. Untarnished by even our own compromise and absurdly destructive and capricious behaviors.
To repay it? ...Well...
We must only get used to it being true. And to risk living out of it. To accept it even when our lives appear to deny it. Nothing else is close to worthy of this unspeakable love being poured out by a baby who entered this scorching pain and hopelessness.
If we dare to believe it, risk everything upon it, our lives will change just fine. We will wonderfully express the love we have recieved.
Until we are Home, we will not know who finds this wonder beyond all magic. We must let go of making our lists. None of them will be close to accurate.
This season it is enough just to receive it. Jesus coming for us. And finding us. And making us believe. And changing us irrevocably upon our clumsy and ridiculously imperfect belief.
"Oh, God, I'm so sorry you had to say those words to yourself long ago in a place I will someday join. And I am endlessly grateful that love was helpless to keep all this from happening.
Thank you Father. Thank you Son. Merry Christmas to the rest of us."