“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” — Luke 2:11-12
To explore the aesthetic, beautiful qualities of love is to explore the messy, complex, mysterious, and wondrous place where Love is found: in the birth of Jesus Christ. Love is found—not in ivory towers, or power structures, or city centers—but on the outskirts of a humble town in a box for animal feeding. Love is found—not through the teachings of the religious elite or powerful kings—but through God choosing to partner with a teenage mother, who understands and theologizes (Luke 1:46-56) on the vital role she plays in bringing Love into the world. Love is found in a human baby, the most helpless and vulnerable of creatures among us.
To explore the aesthetic, beautiful qualities of love is to study its very counterintuitive, paradoxical nature. Love is found in all of the places we tend not to look. Love is found in God’s inclusion and empowerment of the places and peoples most easily forgotten. Love is found in humble, messy beginnings.
The season of Advent always brings us back to the origins of where Love is found. And knowing where Love is found re-orients the ways we look for love in our modern environment.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” — 1 John 4:11
In our polarizing, divisive world today, could it be love is found across the divide, from our enemies (Matt 5:43-48)? Could it be, in a world adamant on keeping certain in and certain others out, love is found in the people whose stories are most likely to be left out of the story? Could it be, love is found—not in those who you’d benefit the most from—but in those who, on the shallow surface, have nothing to reciprocate to you (Luke 14:7-14)?
Exploring Love in the Kingdom of God is exploring its subversive qualities: how love always shows up in the places we least expect. But this Love, sewn into the swaddling cloth of a divine-baby, is also good. It is a gift given by God as the very means for how we experience a beautiful, connected life.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” — 1 John 4:12
As beauty-makers, creators, sculptors, molders, artists made in the Image of God we are invited to participate in Love and reveal where Love is found. It will involve for humans to look for Love in the most wonderful of unexpected places. As we do, may we experience the very heart of God. Amen.
- Where are the places you currently look for Love? Where are you being invited to look for Love?
- How can you create, make, draw, paint sight for the community around you to experience Love?
Words: Bryan Ye-Chung
Images: Herrmann Stamm, Thomas Millot