“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:17).
The Incarnation places God so intimately into our lives that there is no going back.
God is revealed as the source of our existence. If you woke up this morning, it is because God continues to will you into existence. Another name for this divine will is love. If you and I are here at all, it is because God loves us.
John’s letters announce the Gospel pure and simple: "God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him or her." The only thing that can distance us from God is fear. How many people isolate themselves from God and from others by doubting that anyone could ever love them. John is quick to remind us that even our own consciences cannot override our intrinsic lovability in the eyes of God. God never stops loving us. God never stops forgiving us or welcoming us home, no matter how deep our sinfulness or how long we have been away.
A lovely story from Harry Byrne, a Dominican preacher, captures the mystery: When he was a boy he was eager to help his father take down the storm windows. While his dad was at work, he positioned the tall ladder against the house and accidently broke one of the windows. Then he ran away from home. Later that day, his father found him under a tree in a distant neighborhood, brought him home, fed him some soup and put him to bed.
Perfect love drives out all fear. To know all is to love all. This is the joy of the Gospel and why we celebrate Christmas.