“For God so loved the world….”
Love: It seems we use it so casually, almost superficially – sometimes even flippantly. We often demean or reduce it to levels of lustful desire.
God: we exploit Him for our own purposes –throw Him in the trash can when we are no longer interested – group Him together with all the superficial little gods we create to make us feel good.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son to die for us.”
In this simple statement, God and love come together in a comprehensive understanding. We are told exactly what kind of love God is offering us: one that is solemn and significant enough that it will die for us. People are being killed today in the name of some god. But would a god of hate die for us? I don’t think so.
Love – we have diminished it – tarnished its value, while desperately needing it. We need to receive it – we need to give it. We cannot live without it.
- Reaches out
- Lifts up
- Needs others
- Is patient
- Is necessary to live
- Offers grace, mercy, and understanding
- Disciplines and sets boundaries
- Is never cheap
- Is given freely – cannot be earned
- Offers purpose and meaning
Christmas – a time to reflect
We have made it a time for “I want” lists” and “to do” lists. Yet it is so much more. Christmas is a time to remember and anticipate a gift of love given to us – freely – without a charge on our credit card. Yet at a great cost to the Giver.
I love my tree lights, greens, and bright ornaments. But without the gift of love given to us so many years ago, Christmas would have a shallow and superficial meaning.
St. Paul gives us a better definition of love in I Corinthians 13:11:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Does anything else need to be said? Who wouldn’t want to find that kind of love under their Christmas tree this year?
(First published in Dec 2015).
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