My advent meditation is inspired by my recent study of 2 Corinthians which ended with a beautiful benediction—the only one that mentions all three persons of the Trinity: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV). Last week, we looked at grace. Today, we focus on love.
How do we see the LOVE of God in the Christmas story? In ancient Greek, “agape” is sacrificial love, not the sentimentalism displayed in most holiday movies. How does God prove that he loves us? The angel told Joseph, Mary of Nazareth’s fiancé,
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.Matthew 1:21 NIV
The apostle John explains what this means to us:
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.1 John 4:9–10 NIV
This is the essence of Christmas. God loved first. Everything else is a response to his unconditional and limitless love.
And nothing whatsoever—not hard times, hunger, homelessness, danger, fears for today, worries about tomorrow, supernatural powers, or even death itself—will separate us from his love (Romans 8:35–39). Anything we’re going through or even what we imagine will happen cannot keep God from loving us.
“You are love, You are love, On display for all to see.”—Reuben Morgan and Jason Ingram, (Forever Reign)
Because of Christmas, we can know the LOVE of God.
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 NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV) 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 NIV)
How will you respond to God’s love?
Father God, after all these years of celebrating Christ’s birth, it’s still a mystery that this was the only way for me to become your child. Thank you for initiating love and giving Jesus to be my savior. While I may not always feel loved because of my circumstances, help me to truly know your love.