44 [Jesus said,] “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46 When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it.”
The gospel is a love story.
It’s a story that encompasses the love of fathers and sons, mothers and their children, and couples who believe in each other even when the circumstances are completely unbelievable. It’s the story of God, who loved the world – and its people – so much that it was no longer possible to stand eternally on the outside looking in. And it’s the story of individuals like you and me who have met this God in Jesus Christ and who have been changed by that meeting.
“The kingdom of heaven is like…” is one of Jesus’ favorite ways of telling this love story. And here, he talks about it in terms of rare finds that you’d do absolutely anything in order to possess: a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl more perfect than any you’ve ever seen before. These are the qualities of a love story: two people who care so much for each other they will move heaven and earth in order to be together.
Christmas is the story of a God who literally moved heaven and earth in order to bring the Creation back into relationship with its Creator. At Christmas, we celebrate the moment when heaven and earth kissed… when we finally recognize ourselves as God’s beloved.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Often, when we tell the story of the gospel, we talk about the love story from one side only: how much God loves us. Are there moments when you experience the story from the other side, and feel a profound love for God? What kinds of activities or experiences foster those feelings for you? How can you make time for one of those moments today?
Prayer: God, help us today to experience you both as lover and beloved. Help us to understand your great love for us, and help stir in us a deep love for you. We pray this in the name of your Son, in whom heaven and earth met at Christmas. Amen.