Advent Devotionals: Wednesday, December 2

THE PATH TO LOVE IS VULNERABILITY
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
- Brene Brown
Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 2:11-12, Philippians 2:1-11, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 13:4

God arrived as a baby. The promised Messiah comes wrapped in swaddling clothes. Four hundred years had passed since the last prophecy. Silence. Not a word about the Messiah. God's people were feeling the oppressive weight of the Roman Empire.
The world into which Jesus was born was a world of political turmoil and religious unrest, not to mention that the Roman Emperor - Caesar Augustus referred to himself as the son of God who was the saviour who would bring peace to the world.

For the Messiah to make his earthly appearance as a baby would not have been what the Jewish people expected or desired. To come as a baby to establish his kingdom, was an act of humility and vulnerability - the complete opposite of what human minds would see as effective or efficient.

The incarnation was born out of a depth of love and sacrifice incomprehensible to us. God gave up everything for his people in the person of Jesus. And not just once but twice, giving up the splendour of heaven, coming to earth as a fragile human being and then on the other end of the story... giving his very life on the cross for us. God's kingdom is a kingdom established in love, marked by vulnerability, sacrifice, forgiveness, surrender and many other words we would often rather avoid.

The life of Christ was a life of vulnerability. As we journey toward wholehearted love, we must follow the path of vulnerability, a willingness to risk being wounded in order to create a safe and trusting relationship with others. Deep connection can only come from a place of openness, a hospitality of sorts, opening our heart to another and letting them "see" us. This in turn, creates a space for the other person to be seen and known by us. And this is the space where deep love resides, an acceptance of the other in all their imperfection. It is the space in which we can bear witness to God by being a witness to the other person's life, noticing them and caring about all the things in their life. When we make room in our lives for others, by extension we are making room for Jesus.

God's love is not a sentimental, warm and fuzzy love. For God so loved the world, he sent his only Son to die... and as followers of Jesus, we are called to "so love others" in the same way, dying to ourselves for the sake of others.
Vulnerability is a huge risk, requiring great courage but it is the path to deep and wholeheartedly love and it is where healing and redemption begin.

REFLECTION:
1.  What wounds do you carry that cause you to pull back from others?
2.  What life experiences have significantly shaped your view of God?
3.  What is your greatest fear of becoming vulnerable to another?
4. If our calling as Christ followers is to love our neighbour, what does that look like in your current
reality?PRACTICES:
1. Morning Prayers of praise and gratitude. (Suggestion: Write out your prayers)
2.  Evening Prayers - Examen.
3. Pray the Soren Kierkegaard prayer (Dec. 1)
4. Scripture Reading - Prayerfully read Philippians 2:1-11. What word or phrase jumps out at you?
Write it down and carry it with you throughout the day. Ask the Lord what he is inviting you to with this particular phrase? What will you need to lay down in order to say yes to this invitation. Will you lay it down?

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