THE WORD: Love’s pure light

PHOTO CAPTION: “Nativity of Jesus” (circa 1473) by Botticelli is a painting held in the collection of the Columbia Museum of Art, in Columbia, S.C. The museum is home to the only Botticelli fresco exhibited outside of Italy. 

The Fourth Sunday of Advent approaches with a traditional focus on love. This final Sunday before Christmas reminds us of God’s love for humanity through the birth of his son Jesus Christ. The birth of Christ set in motion his ministry, which was founded in love. Christ made clear that love — of God and neighbor — were the greatest of the commandments. The love we express for each other at Christmas, through gifts, gatherings and good deeds, are a reflection of the love that was shown to all upon the birth of Christ. 

The Christmas hymn “Silent Night” extols Christ as “Son of God, Love’s pure light.” The song, composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and written by Joseph Mohr, echoes the first chapter of John, where John described Jesus as the light which started with God’s word. The hymn concludes recognizing the birth of Jesus as “the dawn of redeeming grace.”

John 1: 4-9

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.