Love caused your incarnation; love brought you down to me; your thirst for my salvation procured my liberty. O love beyond all telling, that led you to embrace in love, all loves excelling, our lost and fallen race.
Set to the tune of a beloved Holy Week hymn, O Lord, How Shall I Meet You invites believers to consider what it means to welcome Christ into our lives – a key theme of the season of Advent. The three verses move from our anticipation of Christmastide, move into the reason for our trust, and end with a joyful vision of all that will come when Christ returns.
What is particularly poignant is that in the second verse, which describes God’s very self, it never uses the word God. It speaks of “love” and “you.” This makes the entreaty more personal, as though the singer is speaking with an old friend and remembering all they have done in the past.
It is love that is at the heart of all that God does. It is who God is – “God is love.” And the same love that caused Christ to become a helpless baby, to live, to die, and to rise again, is the love that pushes us into the broken world to live as God’s children.
Christ’s presence in the world offers a new way of being for us. Love is what that life entails. Just as love is the heart of who God is, so it is for us, since we have been made in God’s image.
As we consider how we should welcome the Christ-child, let us also be mindful that one day Christ will return, bearing that same love into the world once more – this time in full force. On that day, according to Jesus himself, he will ask us how we have lived into that hope.
Knowing this, let us join the happy chorus and pray to live as we sing: You come, O Lord, with gladness, in mercy and goodwill, to bring an end to sadness and bid our fears be still. In patient expectation we live for the great day when your renewed creation your glory shall display.
Reverse Advent Calendar: Create cards or some other token that will communicate to someone how loved they are. Then hand them out to complete strangers – especially those who look a bit down.