And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
One Christmas when our kids were very young and we had very little money, an expensive glass ball ornament caught my eye at one of those magical Christmas stores. I splurged and bought it.
The ornament was exquisite. It was a beautifully crafted tear-drop shaped glass ball with delicate nativity figurines inside. As soon as we got home, I carefully chose where to place it on the tree and carefully hung it just so.
Not two hours later, my young sons decided it would be a great idea – though we had rules against it – to play with a baseball in the house, of course near the tree. I was dismayed when I heard the commotion from the other room and came in to see the glass shattered and tiny figurines from the lovely nativity scene scattered. I think I cried.
As a parent, you know the feeling. So much of our energy goes toward our kids, and if the very limited time or resources we’ve carved out to spend on our own desires gets disrupted or broken, we are upset!
But we love our kids so we don’t destroy them. If we’re thoughtful parents, we try to teach them by giving appropriate consequences and give the grace we would want.
I think about God and his love for us when we played ball in the house with his creation. He created a superb planet with places like Yosemite and Hawaiian Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. He placed Adam and Eve to oversee creation and said it was “very good.” It was perfect, and yet they blew it. They knew the rules, yet disobeyed anyway. Sin entered the world, setting creation on course toward death and destruction. How must God have felt?
Like us, God loves his children. While there were consequences, he made a way.
Unlike us, God loves perfectly. Jesus modeled perfect love.
How did he do it?
Jesus loved in action and in attitude.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
– Philippians 2:5-8
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:45
Jesus came to earth to give his life for each one of us because of love! No matter what your background or life experience, nothing can change what Christ did for you. You are loved!
Jesus literally set aside heaven to come to earth to live among us for the purpose of dying for us. His love compelled him to take action.
Sometimes love is a change in attitude. When we’re dealing with someone difficult to love, our response or behavior often has to precede our attitude.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 says:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
If I’m feeling impatient, but manage to keep my mouth closed, that is love. If I’m feeling grumpy or mean and keep the unkind thoughts unspoken, that is love. If I’m feeling envious, yet I affirm another for their accomplishment, that is love. If I’m feeling boastful and I keep my mouth shut about my accomplishment, that is love.
This I Corinthians 13 love is perfectly shown in the person of Jesus Christ. It is how he loved the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, and the tax collector and it’s how he loves you and me.
When I consider the “wonders of his love” it brings joy and makes me want to answer to Jesus’ love.
How do I respond to Jesus’ love for me?
- I receive it. Have I meditated lately on what he did for me?
- I thank him for his love – even if I don’t feel it! He showed it on the cross.
- I choose to love others. Is there a relationship I need to evaluate in light of I Cor 13:4-8?
We pray that this Christmas you understand and experience Jesus’ love in a way that brings you love, joy, peace and hope.
If you have any questions about having a relationship with Jesus, please reach out and we’d love to connect with you to share how you can experience his wondrous love!