For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17, NIV).
Have you taken an opportunity for a leisurely drive around town to look at Christmas decorations? Among the images of Santa and elves, reindeer and snowmen, trees and gingerbread, every so often a nativity scene emerges. The nativity—the picture of an innocent Baby, God incarnate, Who arrived in humble obscurity to reveal His love to the world. The angels proclaimed His birth to the shepherds. The shepherds rushed to find God’s gift housed in a stable, lying in a manger. I imagine it looked rather plain to them, but nevertheless they rejoiced in the revelation of God’s love.
Love is really what Christmas is about. The miraculous message of Christmas is not that we loved God, but that He so perfectly loved us.
Unfortunately, we often project our own human experience with relationships on God. Our parents say they love us (and they probably do), but they hurt us. Our closest relationships with family and friends bring heartache. Perhaps our spouse has an affair, or our best friend betrays us. At the very least, we are disappointed by the decisions of others.
No matter how hard we try, people fail. Human love falls short. However, God does more than acts of love. He gives us Himself. He is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
Because God is love, everything He does is love. Whether or not we agree with it. Whether or not we understand it.
That is not to discount the presence of evil in the world, and that bad things happen to good people. But that’s a different conversation for another time.
There is such comfort and assurance in knowing that God is love. We do not worship a created being that whimsically and selfishly imposes His agenda on us, and then laughs at our expense. No! We run to Him and are safe. Our God is 100 percent love. He perfectly embodies the qualities of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails (vv. 4-8).
These next few days before Christmas, let’s reflect on the love of God. Let’s drink deeply of the wonders of His love. God came to earth to bring us salvation at His own expense. God is love, and love is what He does.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
Lord of Love, thank You for sending the Christ Child as Your gift of love to the world. We have received You into our lives, and our hearts desire the warmth of Your love. Increase our longing for Christ our Savior. Help us grow in understanding Your love. Remind us that we are Your children, and that You lavish Your love—Your very self—on us. In the name of Jesus. Amen.