7 Days To Christmas - Love
It's a weird paradox and one that defies all sense of logic. On the one hand, we demonstrate such extreme emotions of love that finds expression in works of art, literature, architecture and acts that warms our heart and soothes our soul.
And then, on the other hand, we commit acts of extreme cruelty, develop weapons that inflict the most severe pain, oppose people on the basis of superficial factors like colour or ethnicity and applaud policies that bleed rather than heal the poor.
And we claim to do all this in the name of love or its many variants.
Love can be quite tricky that way. It expects us to rise above ourselves, think of the other as more deserving of the best we can give, and disturbingly enough, touches the very heart of God because God is love.
The trouble is, human imperfection or hamartia as the writers of the New Testament put it, comes in the way and warps our expressions of love into something totally unrecognisable from its original intent.
Hamartia - or tragic flaw - describes the state of humanity as one that has missed the mark in becoming what God has intended humanity to be - creatures made in the image of God, reflecting His love through acts of kindness that breathe life into an aching world.
The tragedy is that, we've paid more attention to our baser instincts, insisting on its invincibility and believing in the 'virtue' of selfishness rather than to the selflessness God expects.
The result is a world torn apart by anger and hatred, where creeds like 'unto thine own self be true' are used as excuses to avoid caring for the socially disadvantaged, and where narrow and parochial world views are made to seem more important than the command to love our neighbour as ourselves.
In such a world, the Christmas story is not just a pretty picture on our cards. It is also a divine promise that all is not lost -- that Love finds a way to redeem humanity and undo the curse of hamartia.
It is the story of a Messiah who came to love the unlovable, give them His all, and provide an example of selflessness that can be emulated.
The problem is, this call for love remains but a cry in the wilderness... will we take up the challenge or continue giving hatred and cruel indifference the pride of place in our hearts?