December 18, 2022
advent peace

He himself is love

“All the history of humankind, all the hatred we embodied, the death we so frequently inflicted on the innocent, the pride and arrogance with which we ruled and dominated nations, deserved violent retribution. But down came no lightning bolt of judgement, no nuke or slaying black-cloud. Instead, came a baby. Peace inhabited all that violent pride. Not warring against it, but growing amidst it. Displacing it eventually through a refusal to accept the world on the terms that violence dictates.” - Commoners Communion

God’s response to our violence was His own suffering. He took on death that we might live. His great weapon against hatred and anger and fear was Love. 

He Himself is Love–he did not come into the world to condemn it, as would be deserved, but to save it.Advent 4 Love Blog Post

Jesus came that all might have life and have it abundantly. That abundant life doesn’t come in the form of big bank accounts and college education and successful careers–those are all fine things, and we should be grateful for all the good gifts – but the abundant life offered to us is communion with God. His presence. The very definition of Love. All that we seek and hope for in this life is found in Love. Patience. Kindness. Not boasting, not arrogant, not rude, not irritable or resentful or insisting on its own way. Rejoicing with truth. Bearing all things. Believing all things. Hoping all things. Enduring all things. Study the life of Jesus in the scriptures. He is the exact imprint of God, and He embodies Love. 

He sees us in our rage and our jealousy and our selfishness and our greed, and He says, “Come to Me.” He has no need to shame us – He died for us while we were sinners. He already knew the depths of our depravity. He knows better than we do. And yet He died that we might have life. He defeated death, dying, suffering. He defeated the ugliest parts of each of us. And of the people we hate. And He didn’t do it with a sword but with a love so great that it gave up heaven. Love that sacrificed to the point of separation with the Father, to take on wrath. To give us hope.

If we could grasp how deep and how wide and how great His love is for us, the world would know that we belong to Him. They would see it in the way we live with boldness and joy and peace and humility. His love would spill out of us. It would overwhelm our communities and overcome darkness. 

As you wait with great longing for Love to make His final entrance–to reign over the new heaven and the new earth–how can you let love reign in your heart this Christmas season? How can you forgive the unforgivable, care for the least of these, or find hope in the dark places? 

By Brandi Schroeder

Sherry LibbyBrandi Schroeder joined the Body & Soul® Fitness community in Arkansas back in 2010. She has served as an instructor, a regional trainer, and a spiritual impact member. Brandi is a long-time member of Cornerstone Bible Fellowship in Sherwood and serves in youth ministry and adult small group ministry alongside her youth pastor husband. Two of her four sons have launched into adulthood, one of them will graduate in 2023, and her youngest is in eighth grade. She is spending this season ministering to women with words of encouragement and hope.