Underlying The Season of Advent is one central idea expressed in three ways:
God’s Love for Humanity
1. The gulf between God and humanity is slightly more comprehensible than ever before in human history. Instead of:
GOD IN THE DISTANCE.
GOD ON A MOUNTAINTOP.
GOD HEARD IN THE ANGER OF THUNDER.
GOD IS HIDDEN AMONG CLOUDS.
We may interact with God directly as we interact with one another. Speak with God as you would speak to a loving parent or friend.
The gulf between humanity and God is permanently bridged. God is present and embodied incarnate in a family and the larger human community.
2. We love each other as we love ourselves. This is our framework for living and relating to other people. It’s how we fine-tune our corner of the universe every day. This is incredibly hard work. It’s easy to see why Jesus distilled 613 commandments into this single idea because it is full-time work.
If we can master this idea, our ability to love more, fight less, make peace, mend the broken fabric of society, feed hungry people, and be as Christlike as possible becomes easier. We have a chance at a kind of love we’ve never had before, making the prophetic ideal a reality.
3. We layer these habits and practices into our lives, one on top of another. (Think of putting on a loud, ugly, colorful Christmas sweater and then another on top of that and then another on top of that one.)
Paul calls this putting on “the armor of light” or putting on “the Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we can put meat on the bone of commandment one by being in a community/relationship, incarnational living with Jesus (internalizing this moral vision), then loving God and loving each other is the natural byproduct. If we put on and internalize outlandish love (spiritually), we will give away Christ’s love extravagantly (spiritually and physically).
Once you’ve put this one on, it’s never seasonal or out of style. You do not need to take it off. It becomes part of who you are – people see the Jesus in you if it’s on you, like a loud Christmas sweater, a Santa tie, or bright red shoes. It’s who you are all year long.