The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
The chorus of a song we used to sing over our campers as we said our final goodbyes for the week, Zephaniah 3:17 holds a special place in my heart. This verse culminates the love and compassion that I learned at a camp for the broken.
While there is a swift justice, fire and brimstone side to God that is apparent it is only because He is being deprived of the other side of His nature. Throughout scripture, God yearns to draw close and gather His people in embrace. He wants to be intimately connected with us. Our waywardness and disobedience prevent our approach to His holy throne, but His desire for closeness persists.
Zephaniah reminds me that in the most real way this Christmas, God came to be with me. He came to quiet me with his love. His song of love over me is the gift of his presence in Christ. He didn’t send a long email. He didn’t send a fruit basket. He didn’t send an entourage of angels or a cosmic Broadway show. He sent a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes to take away the sting of death and punishment for my sins.
This season I want most to take a pause and breathe that fact in. God didn’t love me in some grandiose, extravagant way. He loved me in the most intimate, necessary way. He loved me by doing something for myself that I could not. He loved me with the gift of His presence and the offer still stands.
I need to take some time to receive it.