On Christmas Eve this year, I suggested that when thinking of the signs of our times, it is easy to come up with a long list of negatives.  There are a lot of bad things happening all over our world, really sad, tragic events.

Such things are often the sole focus of what we see, hear, or are exposed to.  Although it is essential we don’t put our heads in the sand and instead respond to what is wrong through faith driven action, it is also vital to remember that solely looking at what is amiss leads to an extraordinarily skewed way of looking at things.   The good is always happening in the midst of the bad.

What is most important to keep in mind as we roll into the year 2017 is that Jesus is fully present with us, continuing to lead, guide, teach, heal, forgive, challenge, and transform us, just as he did when he walked the desert sands of Israel.

The night before Jesus was crucified, he said something.  He said, “I will not abandon you.  I will come to you and later I will be in you.  You will know that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Here Jesus says he not only will always be with us, but that he will be in us.  And there is a clear sign this is the case.

Here is what we find in scripture. “God is love.  All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us…As we keep his command to love, we live deeply and surely in him and he lives in us.  Love is how we experience his deep and abiding presence.”

In other words, love is the sign that Jesus Christ is alive and well, living in you and in me and in the midst of this messed up world.  He continues to do now what he did way back then anytime love shows up.

It was love that caused Jesus to forgive.  It was love that led Jesus to heal people from terrible things.  It was love that raised Jesus from the dead.

God is love.  Jesus, was God in the flesh.  Want to be in touch with God, love. Want to find Jesus, love.  Wonder where Jesus is, love.  Love is the point. Love is the purpose.  Love is the sign.  Those places in our lives in which we love by what we do and by how we act, are the very same places we will encounter God.

God, who is love, is our constant companion and final destination.