We have come a long way from the original meaning of adore. We adore puppies, we adore people instead of liking them and when I speak (in my English accent) I am often told, “Oh, you are so adorable”, at which stage I get a strong urge to prove how not-adorable I really am.
Adore only came to be used in this way in the 18th Century. Earlier it meant bow down, worship, give reverence. It was a word of differentiation between the one adored and the one adoring. I wonder if that has flipped as well, instead of the one being adored being more powerful and deserving our praise, now, the one doing the adoring does so from the position of person to puppy or adult to child.
When we come to adore Jesus, we are not thinking He is cute. Jesus’ birth was not cute. It is impossible to tell exact numbers, but many women would have died during child birth and it is guessed that 30% of children would not live until their first birthday. Jesus was born in a stable, not the best recipe for either mother or child’s safety. Yet, into this risky place in a risky world Jesus was born.
(Just an aside, if you are thinking that Jesus would always have to survive in humanity because of who he was, then how can he have been fully human? Brain stew, sorry).
That is who we come to adore. God in this small slice of space and time, yet God who is over all time and space. It is all too much to make sense of and so adoration is a good option. We simply kneel and give ourselves over to the presence and amazing action of God in Christ. We inhabit the moment, we do not own it. God inhabits humanity and offers us the opportunity to be in relationship with Christ as those who adore Him and are adored, as beloved creatures, by this God of mystery and renewal.