“And the Word became flesh, and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. “ John 1:14


God choosing “to take flesh” is God’s way of telling us that we are “enough.” Human life with its joy and pain and messiness is unreservedly embraced by Jesus. Jesus, like us in “all things but sin,” becomes all that we are—gifted and frail. We don’t have to be smarter, kinder, thinner or braver for God to decide to cherish and nurture us. God loves us as we are, without conditions, no questions asked.

As astounding as this reality is, even more amazing is God’s invitation to love ourselves and our neighbor in the same way. Radical self-acceptance: think about it! How difficult it is not to qualify self-love! I certainly struggle with it. A voice in my head whispers: “Julie, you’ll be lovable when you stop _____” or “Julie, you’ll be lovable when you become more _____.” But God doesn’t do that.  God accepts me and loves me in this present moment—just as I am.

This Advent, let’s pray for a miracle. Let’s ask to see ourselves as God sees us. And, because God’s generosity is limitless, let’s pray for the grace to embrace other people with the same radical vision. Jesus becomes a human being to show us that love does not say, “I’ll love you as soon as you change.” Love “…does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 12:5-8)

Jesus, your compassion is beyond measure. Please free our hearts this Advent. Help us to love ourselves and love others “just as we are.”