Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan rightly observes that Christianity is unique among all religions for it is about God’s pursuit of us to draw us to Himself. In every other religious system, people pursue their god, hoping that through good behavior, keeping of rituals, good works, or other efforts they will be accepted by the god they pursue.
The British poet Francis Thompson catches the profound nature of this reality when he writes of the relentless pursuit of God in his life. In his work titled “The Hound of Heaven,” he writes that as he fled from God he couldn’t outrun “those strong feet that followed . . . with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace.” But God’s untiring pursuit of the wayward is not just Thompson’s story. At the heart of the Christmas message is the wonderful truth of God’s pursuit of every one of us. As Paul affirms, “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5).
And it’s not just the Christmas story. It’s the story of God’s pursuit of Adam and Eve after the fall. His pursuit of me! His pursuit of you! Where would we be today if God weren’t the “Hound of Heaven”?