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December 2019 - the Language of Love

Visiting Germany made me realise how much better God is at breaking down communication barriers than me...

Recently I spent a couple of days in Germany visiting a friend. The town was pretty and the Christmas market was magical. However the one thing which was difficult was communication. I know no German. Literally none. Any attempt at communication with local people usually consisted of me nervously trying a single English word with a slightly odd accent, and them either looking confused or responding in embarrassingly good English.

It made me think about how God communicates with us. If German is so different from English, how much more different must the language of the eternal, all-powerful divine God be from human language. The God who tells us that “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55 verse 9. And yet Christmas is in part about how God communicated Himself to us in a way we could understand. “The Word became flesh.” (John 1:14). All of God’s infinite love and holiness was spoken to us in the form of a baby. “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” (Hebrews 1:3).

The Bible tells us that we are the body of Christ on earth now. We are one of the ways in which God chooses to reveal Himself in this world. So I am encouraged when I see the love of God communicated in our borough in ways which can be easily understood. Acts of kindness like the knitted hats and scarves which have been donated for the Living Room visitors, and the volunteers who are giving up their time to welcome them in overnight. Words of compassion, truth and grace shared with empathy and respect as 'Christians against Poverty' befrienders work with people crippled by debt. Young people shown how great their value and potential is by Youth Workers and volunteers at 'East Norfolk Youth for Christ' and 'Identity Youth Project'. Empty stomachs and empty hearts nourished at the Great Yarmouth Foodbank and the various drop-ins. Love speaks gently but powerfully across all languages and cultures.

I’m grateful for the patient people in Germany, who made the effort to communicate with me in spite of my poor language skills. I’m even more grateful for God’s sacrificial communication of everything that He is, through Jesus. I pray that in turn, I can communicate something of the character of our generous, compassionate, self-giving God through what I say and do this Christmas.

Anna Heydon (Imagine Norfolk Together, Great Yarmouth)

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God”

Hebrews 1:3