With too little time for thinking, I decided to peruse some posts from a blog I no longer maintain, and came across one from December 2014 that so neatly fit in with yesterday's church sermon, I had to share it with you, dear readers:
At Christmas we remember and celebrate God's love and his incredible gift to us. [side note: I think it's no coincidence that on many of my Christmas cards and on my kitchen chalkboard, I'm sharing 2 Corinthians 9:15 - "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"]
Whether or not Jesus was actually born on December 25, this is the day that has been set aside to recall his coming.
God is love (1 John 4:8 and 16). We know this because, even when we were yet sinners, he had a plan for our salvation. This plan required that Jesus come and live among us. But it would not be all babe-in-a-manger, lovey-dovey and sweet. It would be doubt, fear, anger, rejection, the cross. Jesus demonstrated John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Christ-followers love God. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19) and gave us the example. We show him our love when we give him our lives and allow him to take control. We show him our love when we praise him with our whole heart and when we obey him.
Christ-followers love each other. We are bound together as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Anyone who says he loves God, but hates his brother does not have the love of God in him (I John 2:9-11). Love is the standard by which we must judge ourselves. Some people are more difficult to love. If we examine our own hearts, we should wonder that God could find us lovable. How much more should we love those he has placed in our lives?
Christ-followers love those who are outside the faith. We see them as God does. Everyone who has ever existed, exists, or will exist is someone created by God. In his image. Loved by him. If he loves them, who are we to withhold love, or worse, to throw stones? It is love, after all, that everyone craves. And it is love that has the power to draw people to God.
Consider today how well you love. Is there anything you need to change? Lean on Christ; he will help you and be your strength.
One thing is clear. As Christmas points to Easter, God reveals his great love for us - that he would take the form of a man, dwell among us and relate with us in every way, is truly amazing.
May God bless you this Christmas season with reminders of his love. "How many fathers gave up their sons for me?"
Please visit Susan Barclay at her website, www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com