Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 - NIV
From the beginnings of recorded history onward humanity has had an innate desire to know God. This compulsion cannot be denied for when we attempt to ignore the urge, it works itself out in our actions and attitudes whether we understand it or not.
If our devotion is not directed to the Divine, then one way or another, it will find expression in our lifestyle; the God-sized hole within will be filled by something.
Perhaps it will be some culturally acceptable diversion like shopping, recreation or sports that will capture our heart; maybe it will be a friend, family member or celebrity who swallows up all our time and money.
Those are all good things, though care is required to keep each in proper balance and perspective. We are to enjoy the abundant blessings of life, while keeping our focus and gratitude fixated on the One who grants us every day’s generosity. Stuck inside of human skin, doing so is a never-ending challenge that is akin to tightrope walking.
Our cries to know God can be easily misdirected into dark places where dangerous cravings of one kind or another lurk - drugs, food, alcohol, pornography, gambling. If addiction and abuse is what feeds the heart hunger, then a multitude of sufferings will result.
We are desperate for God, but it is not a one-sided affair; the rest of the story is that God is pursuing us with a relentless love that refuses to give up or leave us mired in the mucked up mess we make of our lives.
That is what the baby born in Bethlehem is all about; in a radical act of everlasting love God placed himself inside of human skin so he is fully experienced with the enormous limitations of our fragile and fallible nature.
Advent Season is an opportunity for us to consider anew the One who commands us to love him with a vigor that has no restraints.
Prayer is a good place to start: Thank God for his presence; thank him for his concise and unchanging expectations. Pray for an ever increasing understanding of the deep dimensions of loving him; pray for the grace to apply that ever increasing understanding.