“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.”
~Song of Solomon 8:6 (NRSV)
The Christmas story—Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, born to Mary in a manger—redeems the essence of love; a concept so powerful it is a mystery that captivates our imagination in such ways that love is never fully realised; it’s not ever truly sated.
If we ever needed Jesus once, we will need him ever more.
Personal Stories of Deliverance
The Christmas story is about love: the Son of God coming as a mortal to convey and commit the Father’s redemption plan for humankind—the plan hatched in the unity of God.
The living God, resplendent in the Holy Spirit, has one request for Christmas (and every other day): All I want for Christmas is you... to redeem you, to love you, to restore you, to make you into all you can become.
Stories of deliverance are personal and they are unfolding, before our consciousness, today—afresh, in new ways, in new times, and never repetitively or tiresomely requited.
When one person has been delivered in such ways they know the strength of love that brings death to the old life. A new creation is born.
Personal Stories of Love’s Passion
Has anything ever captivated us as much as love has?
The love of a partner, or the infatuation that has been spared no human being, for we have all fallen for it, is irrefutable and irreconcilable; and if not a person, it’s a practice, a predilection, or the predestined will.
It’s easy for the many to relate: All I want for Christmas is you... to have you, to love you, to comfort and be comforted by you, to be adored by you.
Love’s passion, as so powerfully encapsulated in the Song of Solomon quote above, is too hot to handle. It makes and breaks our lives.
Then There Was the True Significance of Christmas
It is unfortunate that the world is sown a lie: that Christmas is about Santa Claus, reindeer, and gifts given all over the world over one single night.
I suspect, though, given the nature of Divinity, that the Lord is personally unperturbed by this pagan ritual veiled in peace and goodwill toward all humanity, whilst knowing, however, that such lies take humanity away from the truth: that the gift of salvation was given over the whole world during one single event, not at the birth of Jesus, but, at his death.
Still, peace and goodwill could never be a lie—it’s perfectly appropriate, then, that the tradition of Christmas is entirely virtuous. It’s a beautiful time to look forward to and to enjoy.
The true significance of Christmas is, however, the foretelling of Jesus story: the gift of salvation in redemption back to the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. Such a love as that is “a raging flame”: the one and only living God and divine love for all creation.
Such a love can never give up on us: that’s the real Christmas story.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.