“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son….” (1 John 4:10a)
When I was young and took swimming lessons, I was terrified of the 12-foot-deep end of the pool…especially the creepy drain at the bottom. Going down just to touch my feet to the bottom put a lot of pressure on my ears and my courage levels.
Imagine, then, the bravery of explorers who have plumbed the depths of the Earth’s oceans. The very deepest part is Challenger Deep, located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific.
Challenger Deep descends almost 35,600 feet, about 6.7 miles, from the surface. In various deep-submergence vehicles, at least 27 people have braved the intense pressure and sheer scariness of going to the very bottom. These scientists have even found living organisms thriving in the ooze along the floor.1
Our incredible God descended to our planet some 2,000 years ago to put on our fleshly attire. He arrived as a newborn baby, at the bottom of societal expectations—born to a carpenter, laid in a feeding trough, and celebrated by shepherds. He left the glories of heaven, walked on our soil, and then allowed Himself to be crucified as a criminal. It’s too much for us to grasp, much less incorporate into our daily thoughts…that the King of Kings would stoop down so low to meet to our profound needs.
I find it all very intimidating. Just how deep is Jesus’ love, really? How deep will He call me to go? I have no idea where His grace will lead me…perhaps to an intense pressure level, full of unknowns. At times I have to close my eyes and let His love surround me, even in the midst of pain. I have to trust Him in the depths as well as the heights. He is with me, and with you, wherever He has placed us. His love has no bounds.
As we launch the Christmas season—when we celebrate Jesus’ birth with trees, tunes, tinsel, and too much food—shouldn’t we also take a deep dive into His love? To find out how far He wants us to go with Him? To see how much of His love He wants us to bestow upon others?
The challenge for me during this Advent time is to watch for “divine opportunities” where Jesus shows up in unmistakable ways, calling me to love others as He does…with a bottomless, sacrificial love.
May you find similar encounters with our Lord this Christmas season. May His overwhelming love surround you and wrap you up in His embrace. Even in the depths.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus! Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward, to Thy glorious rest above.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus! Love of ev’ry love the best:
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ’tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus! ’Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee.2
Jesus, help us go beyond the trappings of Christmas to experience the depth of Your love. Make us brave to accompany You on Your mission to reach others sinking into misery this season. Bear with us when we fail…and fill us with Your love to bless a hurting world. In Your name, Amen.
2Written by Samuel Trevor Francis, 1834-1925; https://hymnary.org/hymn/TPH2018/463
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.