We are now in our 4th week of advent, Christmas is right around the corner. All month we have been talking about the different gifts that God has given us by giving us Jesus. Hope, peace, joy and now this Sunday we will be lighting a candle for love.
In 1 John chapter 4 verse 8 it says, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” In every single way God is love. The whole reason that we love at all is God. When God sent Jesus, he sent us love. Isaiah 7:14 says:
All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
“God is with us.” Love is with us. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love. He brought us hope, peace, and joy but all of it was bottled up in His love for us. I remember the moment I decided to stop resisting God and to give my life to Jesus. It was a moment where everything clicked, everything I knew, everything I had learned, all came together and made sense in my mind. I was sitting on my bed reading my bible and came across 1 John 4:10, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” God’s plan all along was that His son, His only son was going to be a sacrifice for us because we messed up. God was sending His son to die because He loves us too much to let us die in our sins. What made it click for me was that nothing was dependent on me. Even if I chose to never love God, He would still send Jesus to die for me. That is real love. That is who Jesus was and is. That is the King that we worship. That is the Prince of Peace that was born on Christmas morning.
In 1 Corinthians 13 there is a passage that often gets used at weddings as a description of the love a bride and groom should have for one another, but it is so much more than that. It is a description of God’s perfect love, the love that God showed us by sending Jesus, the love that Jesus embodied when he was here on earth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
A pastor I know once said, “if you want to know if you are loving, take this passage and replace the word ‘love’ with ‘I.'” I am patient and kind, I am not jealous or boastful or proud or rude, and so forth. I don’t know about you but when I do that, I often trip up pretty early on in the passage. I can’t claim to be all of those things all the time. But now instead of replacing the word “love” with “I,” replace it with “Jesus.” Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Jesus doesn’t demand his own way. Jesus is not irritable, and Jesus keeps no record of being wronged. Jesus does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Jesus never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
When God gifted us Jesus those many years ago on Christmas morning, he gifted us His love. His pure and perfect love that never changes. So this Christmas season, as we navigate it so differently than years before, remember love. Remember the love that God has shown you, remember the love that Jesus poured out for you on the cross, remember that you have that love inside you to share with others. But don’t just remember, act! Choose to share your hope, peace, joy and love with everyone you connect with. Love others as you have been loved.