“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. . . With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love. . . I am my beloveds, and he is mine” (Song of Solomon)
The Song of Solomon was a favorite amongst monks and mystics. The description of a passionate love affair was spiritualized to represent the love of Christ for the church. It can also be viewed as a celebration of the love between a man and a woman. The body is a beautiful creation that allows us to experience the world in all its beauty: Colours and patterns for the eyes; music and rhythm for the ears; texture to touch; sweetness to taste; perfume to smell.
C. S. Lewis put it this way: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Jesus came in the flesh. He experienced the beauty of the sunrise, the warmth of a summer breeze, the fragrance of flowers in the spring, and the love of companions. We don’t want to shed our bodies, but to have them clothed in immortality. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory. . . the glory as of the only begotten of God the Father” (John 1:14). Rather than denying the flesh, we are to embrace it and give thanks for life. My father recently said, “The day I got married was the happiest day of my life.” God’s love for us is as passionate as the love of a bridegroom on his wedding day.
Christmas heightens our senses. It is the gift of love from the Creator to us. “For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son.” (John 3:16)
“LORD, give us eyes to see and ears to hear during this Christmas season. You fill us with a passion for life. Thank you for coming to us in the flesh. Embrace us with your love.” Amen
Mindi Oaten’s painting “God of Passion” is from God’s Garden of Grace collection.