The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Red hearts of Christmas

'God is love,' these symbols say throughout Denmark

It’s Christmastime in Denmark, and from the moment I get off the plane I notice the red hearts. Large and small ones hang in shop windows and on evergreen trees. Driving into Copenhagen, I see so many more. And when I stroll the Stroget, the famous pedestrian street, I walk under evergreen swags bright with hearts. More hearts grace trees in Tivoli Gardens, the city’s inimitable pleasure park.

I don’t have to ask, “What do the hearts mean?” It’s obvious.

They symbolize Christmas itself, the immense and unimaginable warm and gracious heart of God the Father sharing his Son, whose own incredibly kind and loving heart acquiesced to the humility of birth on Earth.

“God is love” (1 John 4:16) is the first memory verse I learned as a toddler. Other verses come tumbling out: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19); “This is my son, the Beloved ...” (Matthew 3:17).

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