This week is the Second Sunday of Advent… Advent being the season where we prepare for the “arrival” of the Christ Child. The idea is that we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the coming of the Son of God into this world at that first Christmas. On the second Sunday of advent, we think on God’s love for his children… a love that inspired the Son of God to leave his celestial palace to take on the indignities of fallen human existence. He loved us so that… among other things… he came to be with us… Immanuel!
A traditional passage for this Sunday is from an obscure prophet, Zephaniah. Obscure but so good. Why? Because it depicts an extravagant expression of God’s love: a serenade!
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
God sings over you!
Have you ever been serenaded?
I was/am a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Without going into the pro’s and con’s of being in a fraternity, I will just state that it is a part of my history and one of the fun and even good things about those experiences was the Sweetheart Formal. Planning a night of good food, dancing and good company… getting dressed up and passing along tips on the best place to get a dozen roses… such good memories! And the night always culminated in some rendition of the song, The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi. Here is a good portion of the lyrics:
When the world’s gone wrong
As its bound to do
And you’ve broken Dan Cupid’s Bow
And you long for the girl you used to love
The maid of the long ago
Why, light your pipe bid sorrow avaunt
Blow the smoke from your altar of dreams
And wreathe the face of your dream girl there
The love that is just what it seems
The blue of her eye and the gold of her hair
Are a blend of the western sky
And the moonlight beams on the girl of my dreams
She’s the sweetheart of Sigma Chi
Sometimes as a fraternity we would visit a nearby sorority where we had good friends… or maybe an apartment of women who were on our meal plan… and serenade them with the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi! We weren’t make a romantic gesture but one of simple affection and appreciation. It was kind of embarrassing for all involved… for the guys… for the girls we were serenading… but it was a way for us to shamelessly show our affection to the women in our lives.
And the Lord is shameless in expressing his love for his people. I think of the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son. As the wayward son returns home, the father sees him far off, hikes up his robes to run out to his son returning home and throws his arms around his neck. Absolutely shameless.
This is how God loves us… he humiliates himself in awkward displays… in serenading us… in leaving the celestial palace and taking on flesh! Let his song wash over you… and believe it!
I pray we all have some deeper experience of his love this Christmas!