Tis the season . . . for romance. Or so it seems—gauged by what’s streaming, anyway.
Holiday videos have dropped—and the Christmas catalog is seasoned with romance.
I’m beginning to think that a Christmas wedding is second only to a summer wedding. Agreeably, what’s more romantic than a Christmas bride?
I pondered the parallels of this passing fascination with a Christ-centered celebration. And talked myself into re-appropriating the theme. So, rather than filling the season with commercial fare, I decided to put down the remote and consider the Christ and His Bride. After all, the Son we celebrate, born of God, is a Divine Bridegroom. And He’s been gifted a Bride by His Father.
Since the ordered topics of love, peace, joy, and hope accompany each candle lighting in traditional advent liturgies, I decided to follow the same pattern with this year’s advent series.
Let’s turn our hearts to the love of the Bridegroom for His Bride on this, the first Sunday of advent.
The Bridegroom's Love for the Bride
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
I distinctly remember fixing my gaze upon the bridegroom at the weddings of both of my children. I was utterly transfixed by the purest love radiating from the faces of the grooms.
It profoundly stirred the very depths of my faith in inexpressible ways when I realized, while beautiful to behold, it paled in comparison to the perfect, infinite love of Christ for His Bride.
The biblical doctrine of divine betrothal between God and His people is one which slowly unfolds throughout the Old Testament narratives and prophecies. But in the New Testament the teaching becomes clear that Jesus, the Bridegroom, has been covenantally united to His Bride, the church.
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, expounds the correlation between the union of husband and wife to Jesus and the church, as well as the shared, essential elements of love, submission, and oneness (Ephesians 5:31-32). In fact, he even quotes from its origin in the Genesis narrative.
Speaking to Israel through the prophet Hosea, God made reference to a new covenant coming in this way: “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord” (Hosea 2:19-20).
It doesn’t get more romantic than that! For that’s not just your every-day betrothal. But betrothal in its perfection to the God of all Creation—in righteousness, justice, mercy, and faithfulness. And steadfast love. Forever.
It was God’s Steadfast Love born in a manger. He donned flesh in love, mercy, and faithfulness. In fulfilling all the Scriptures, He provided a way to love His people more fully. And betrothed Himself to His Bride in a sacrificial, scandalous act of grace. For the pierced side of the Son far surpassed the rib of the first man of God to gift him a bride (Genesis 2:22).
The Bride of the Christ possesses the unceasing love of the Lord. It is not marked by failing interest . . . or death. For the holy union of this eternal Groom to His Bride does not avow “till death do we part,” for it is made out of a proclamation of life and love everlasting.
Husbands will inevitably fail and disappoint their wives. And wives will inevitably fail and disappoint their husbands. Some to a greater degree than others. But our Husband Jesus never will! He loves us completely. Perfectly. Abundantly.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases (Lamentations 3:22a). The Lord Jesus continually nourishes and cherishes the church (Ephesians 5:29)—so that she might walk this aisle of life in His light and love.
The Bridegroom stands in the throne room—beaming love over His approaching Bride. He faithfully awaits the day when His Bride, beautifully dressed for her husband in His righteousness, will be ushered on the arm of the Spirit into His presence forevermore.
And the ensuing celebration will be far greater than any Christmas this side of heaven!