Reading – 1 John 4:7-11
The line from verse 7 basically sums up this reflection. No matter how ardently, directly, or ostentatiously we proclaim our belief in God, we can only know of Him – not know Him as a Person or our Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier – if we do not love.
Every true experience of love is a manifestation of God in the world, an aspect of His life and love revealed to us, a type of Incarnation. Though Jesus is not again coming to earth as he did 2,000 years ago in these moments, God is powerfully entering our lives, showing us what His life is about and what our lives should center on: love, specifically loving God and each other, allowing divine love to fill and overflow from us to the world in the knowledge that God will give yet more love.
Even people who do not know or believe in God can know and believe in Him by engaging in and serving others out of this kenotic love, for God is the source and essence of it. Salvation is possible for all people, even non-believers, for Christ came and died for all people (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 847 and Gaudium et Spes 22).
We must always remember that Love, that God, is ultimately beyond us, however; God’s self and God’s love cannot be reduced to a word, a phrase, or even a 36-volume encyclopedia. Just as we can and should strive to journey ever more deeply into love, we can and should allow God to lead us farther and farther into His very self, which is love itself.
We should love ourselves and one another as creations of God’s love, a love so immense that it enmeshed itself in creation to live, die, and rise again for it. When we celebrate Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and – in fact – any aspect of God, we celebrate and worship love. After all, “God is love” (v. 8).
Happy birthday, Jesus. Happy birthday, Love. Thank you for coming to us this and every day. ~