Honest Advent: Day 5

December 04, 2022, By: Crossroads Church

Day 5: Given

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. Isaiah 9:6

God so loved the world. Yawn. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but the world is a pretty big place. According to the World Population clock today there are 7.98 billion people inhabiting this dirty little tennis ball (to borrow a description from a CS Lewis parable) hurtling through the universe. That makes you and me exactly 1/7,980,000,000th of the population. And honestly the idea that God loves 7.98 billion people is pretty abstract to me. It’s a little like saying that I love Fort Collins (where I live). I do love Fort Collins but unless you live in my neighborhood, you’ll never experience my love.

UnTO US a child is born. UnTO US a son is given. Now you have my attention. Every parent or grandparent knows that life is going to radically change when a child is born TO US, to our family. The actual presence of a child in our midst is way different than the idea of a child in our midst. One is a fantasy and one is a reality. God is not in our fantasy. God is not in the idea of love. God’s love is present in the presence of a person.

Without a person being given, being fully present in some authentic way, love melts into mere sentimentality. Love fades as a flirtatious feeling. It’s a Valentine card addressed To Whom It May Concern.

But the real presence of Christ—when my spirit senses, feels and knows the presence of Christ’s Spirit (in all the mystery that!) or your presence (in all the mystery of that)—now that’s what it means to be truly given.

How will the Christ child be given to you this Christmas season? How will you experience the in-the-same-room presence of Christ? How will you give your full attention, your in-the-same-room presence to others in the coming days? Now you have my attention!

—Dennis Anderson