How can it almost be Christmas?!
Every month seems to fly by, but December seems like it has whizzed by like a subway train. Between traveling, ministry planning, getting our rental property ready for our next tenant and just normal busyness of life, we’ve barely had a moment to stop and take in the month for what it is – Advent.
Preparing our hearts and minds for the arrival of Christ.
The arrival of Christ on that first Christmas morning and the future arrival of Christ when he returns to finish his victory. Advent.
I’ve allowed the to-do list to take priority.
Anyone with me on that?
Even in all of the hustle of December, God has given me quiet moments of reflection and rest in his presence. It’s in those quick moments, in the presence of a Holy God, that I have been able to reflect on the last week of Advent – love.
In driving home the other day, I saw a sign that struck me as plain old dumb. “Hope your holidays are perfect.”
It was a nice sentiment, but seriously, there is no way that our holiday will be perfect. Why? Because humans are involved!
Perfect means “free from any flaw” or “faultless.” While my holidays over the years have certainly been wonderful, there has been no holiday that has been absolutely perfect. And this one won’t be perfect either.
At least not in light of God’s perfect love.
1 John 4:9-10 says, “…God is love. 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.”
I love this verse because it is so encompassing. This verse tells us what, or rather who, love is.
God is love.
And then it describes how God shows us that he is love: by sending his one and only son into the world.
This wasn’t just a statement of love using words, like a nice hallmark card, this was a proclamation of love using action. He didn’t just passively say that he loves us, he initiated his love by actively doing something: sending his one and only son.
Then it tells us why God sent his Son, Jesus, into this world: so that we may live through him.
Again, this is not some hallmark version of love, this is the most profound, expansive love that has ever been or will be. God sent his son because he loves us so much that he wants us to experience his presence in both the present and the future, for all eternity!
Emmanuel, God with us.
And then it’s like John, the author, just needs to make one more clarifying and humbling statement for us defining the full picture of love: it is not because we loved God first, and therefore sent his son as a token of his love in response to our love. No, God loved us first and even knowing how we would screw up, walk in darkness and turn our backs on him, he still chose to love us by giving his son as a sacrifice for our sins.
God’s choice of love was sacrificial. My pastor, Dr. Blake Wood, defines love as, “intentionally and sacrificially being for another.” God was intentional and sacrificial in his love for us. He knew the cost that his son would have to pay. But he also knew our deepest need, so he gave of himself.
While we were sinners, God loved us so much that he not only allowed, but actually sent his Son on the mission to live on this earth, share his love, give good news, bind up the brokenhearted, set the captives free, give sight to the blind, release the oppressed (Luke 4:10) and then be persecuted, beaten and die on the cross for the punishment of our sins, not his.
All of this was because God loved us.
He loved us. He loves us. And he will love us.
For all eternity.
This is perfect love.
Friend, as Christmas is upon us, know that despite all of your best efforts, your holiday will not be perfect. But what is perfect is the love that God offers us. Have you chosen to embrace this love? Have you said yes to allowing Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior? If not, and if you have questions about it, please email me! I would love to chat with you.
If you have embraced God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit’s perfect love for you, spend time today reminding yourself of his love and also worshiping him because of his perfect love for you.
God is love. Period. God is the fullness of perfect love.
And to complete the Advent series…
Hope is Christ.
Peace is Christ.
Joy is Christ.
Love is Christ.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
God, may we fall to our knees over your perfect love for us.