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. (John 3:16)
What begins with waiting, advances through preparation, resulting in the experience of great joy, is rooted in the love of God in Christ Jesus. God is love. God created love. And God loves us!
How much does God love us? So much so that He sent His Son to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we can be with Him forever – “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Notice that the Scriptures emphasize that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” God did not wait for us to get right with Him. He did not wait for us to clean up our lives. He did not wait for us to “get our act together.” He demonstrated His love for us while we were still sinners. Christian, if that doesn’t light the fire of your faith as you approach Christmas day . . . your wood is wet!
So what are we to do with the knowledge of this amazing love of God, a love so high and long and wide and deep (Ephesians 3:18), while we are waiting and preparing for Christmas to arrive? It’s simple . . . yet profound. We are to rest in God’s love and respond to it. First, to rest in His love is to rest assured that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:23). When Jesus said “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20), He meant what He said! Nothing – not storms, not Satan, not even our own sin – can come between us and the love that our God has for us in Christ Jesus.
Second, to respond to God’s love is to share it with others. We love others because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). God loved us when we were incapable of loving Him – while we were still sinners – and when we were separated from Him and alienated from Him. Because God has poured out His love on us, we can go forth and share that love with others. This is what is called the Great Commandment: loving God and loving others.
During this Advent Season, I hope you’ll take some time to share the love of God with those around you. Invite a neighbor to your Christmas Eve service. Bake some cookies for someone. Write a note of encouragement to someone. Visit someone you have not seen in a long while. Remember, love is the primary way we are to be recognized by others: Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
The question that needs to be answered by all of us this Christmas Advent Season is this: Does everyone know that we are disciples of Jesus by our love? May this be the confession of our lives.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!