In grade three, I learned how to sing the song Silent Night in sign language. I remember standing up in front of my entire elementary school, surrounded by my classmates at our Christmas assembly. As the music came on over the speakers, we straightened our posture, fixed our gazes on the back wall, and rather than singing the words, we signed them. I felt so proud that I could communicate this song in a new way to share Christmas cheer with people who couldn’t hear. I have since forgotten most of the words in sign language, but I still smile when I think back on that moment.
And yet, the song Silent Night has always seemed a little strange to me because that first Christmas night would have been anything but silent. Bethlehem was busting at the seams with people coming home for the census. The air was filled with the screams and moans of childbirth. Angels enveloped the sky in the countryside. Shepherds were rejoicing in the streets. Amid a hectic night, the Lord’s love was loudest of all. He sent His son to earth and rose above the clang and clatter of everyday life to make sure that we didn’t miss it.
God will always make His love for us known. He doesn’t squirrel it away, waiting for us to reach a certain level of devotion to receive it. The Lord goes out of His way to show us how much He loves us because that’s His way. He loves loud, unconditionally, and uniquely. I take great comfort in the fact that the Lord doesn’t love as people love because I know that human love – though strong – is run through with brokenness, hurt, and conditions. No matter how hard we try to love others well, we always fall a little short because we live in a fallen world. But our heavenly Father reaches down in the depths of our souls and shows us love that we can only dream of showing those around us.
The sheer strength of that divine love should propel us forward into action. It should stir something up within us that draws us to love others as God loves us. Yes, we’ll never be able to love as wholly and completely as the Lord, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. Even in the smallest acts, we can show others that there is a love that far surpasses human understanding, a love that came to save us not in the form of a mighty warrior but in the shape of a baby who would become a man.
As Jesus grew, so did the ways that he showed divine affection. He lived it out in his actions and with his words. He didn’t shy away from caring for those that the world had shunned. Jesus didn’t quiet his love for those around him; he turned the volume up. He showed us that the way the Lord loves is vastly different from the world because it doesn’t choose sides, it doesn’t dictate importance based on worth, and it doesn’t come with strings attached.
The Lord’s love is loud and limitless.
The sheer strength and power of the Father’s love are so unfathomable that we often miss it entirely because we dismiss His affection as impossible. We’re so short-sighted that all we can see is how bruised and broken we are. The lie that no one could ever love us if they knew how messed up we truly are is so entrenched in our brains that we forget one key fact. That the Lord already knows how broken we are, and He loves us despite it. Confusion, chaos, and contempt can’t deter the love of God. He sent the physical embodiment of love down to earth in the middle of a messy, loud, stressful night, and He turned it into something worthy of singing songs about. If His love can transform a single night, imagine what it can do for your life!
No matter who we are, whether quiet or loud, big or small, male or female, the Lord’s love will find a way to reach us. God is loud about His love for us and will make sure that we know that, whether it comes through songs sung with friends or words signed by an eight-year-old. He knows how to reach our hearts. Make sure that you’re not so focused on yourself and the dirt in your life that you miss how the Lord is lovingly reaching down and showing up in the not so silent nights of your life.