“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” I John 4:17-18
Advent is over, New Years is now a memory, and resolutions abound. The twelve days of Christmas begin December 25th and ended yesterday, January 6th, with the Epiphany. Today my tree is coming down. A week later than usual this year due to many time commitments.
It is now a time between the spaces – a time between times.
The decorations have been boxed and the unwanted presents returned. The children have all gone back to school and for those who were fortunate to take off time during the holidays, they also are back to the routines of daily life. We are caught between the spaces of warm, fuzzy, feelings with cookies baking in the oven, and the plans and hopes of an unfolding new year. I have said good-bye to some of my children – again – without any plans or knowledge of when we will be together next. I am caught between the times of family togetherness and family absence. It has been many years since all of my children have been under the same roof – the family photo is very outdated, missing the addition of grandchildren. I long for the time when we will “all be together again” as stated by “Jo” in our traditional Christmas movie, Little Women.
History has been caught in the time between the spaces as well, when a perfect world fell to the effects of an imperfect creation, leaving us groaning and waiting for the restoration of all things at the end of the age.
God painted a picture of purity. It was full of beauty, unconditional love and acceptance. Humans and animals lived together without fear, every need given to them by the hand of their loving creator. “Subdue the earth,” they were told. No shame, no work, no rejection, no pain, and no fear.
The clouds kissed the ground in a harmony of sights and sounds, colors and fragrances. God looked upon Adam and Eve and they gazed back at His beaming smile, just as a Father beholds his toddling child; full of joy unspeakable and breathing in contentment.
He did it all for the sake of companionship – the God who loved them – who loves us – immeasurably.
Then came an impenetrable darkness, and with it entered shame, regret, pain, death, and fear – a myriad of ugly effects that would haunt the creation forever.
The between times.
He knew we needed the Love.
So He gave us the Perfect. He restored us to Himself. He reunited us as children, to walk again safely with Daddy.
The effects of darkness remain. They will stay with us until He establishes his Kingdom once and for all, but the Father child relationship has been restored, fully, totally and irrevocably. Just like it was before darkness made its ugly mark. The Light shines in the darkness and children have no need to fear when the light is shining.
The pile of trash that caused a stench too strong for God has been tossed out by Jesus. He carried it out away for us. He wasn’t afraid of what was in it, how bad it smelled, or whether or not He would be contaminated by it. He still isn’t. Now, with every mess we make, he smiles and says, “No problem, remember we are in the between times. I’ve got your back in this place. It’s my job. No need to feel dirty, I made you clean. No need to struggle to hold it, it’s already gone. Once and for all.
Game over man. You are mine.”
God smiles at us with each faltering step we take. He beams with pride when we fall down and hop right back up again, “Atta girl. You’re OK.” He is watching us with adoration. Just as a father delights with each new phase of the journey, with awe.
He delights in us. He is pleased with us. He loves us.
We run to Him in total abandonment, grasping tightly to the knowledge that Love has made us brand new.
Love changes us. Love completes us. Love takes away all fear between the times.
He is the life and breathe between the times, “…when we take up permanent residence in a life of love…”
Here’s to living in His love during 2015.