In our service on Sunday, we lit the fourth advent candle, which represents Love. And when we stop and think about that first Christmas, we realize that LOVE is what Christmas is all about. It’s about the sacrificial love of Jesus.
At Christmas, it’s so easy to focus on the world’s idea of Jesus. This cute little baby that was born in this cute little manger. But our nice, sterile nativity scenes are far from how it really was.
If we think about it, a baby was born and it’s not like today where we can take the baby into the next room and get it all cleaned up while they change the linens on the hospital bed and get mom into a new gown. And I’m guessing the stable area was pretty dirty. I mean, who knows the last time it had been shoveled out. Which means it was probably pretty smelly too.
This was a huge sacrifice for Jesus to give up the glories of heaven for a scene like that….But He did. And not only did He come to this earth and limit Himself in the form of a man, we know that He did all this so that he could then die on a cross for OUR sins.
In 1 John 3:16 it says: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” He showed us the greatest Love that the Bible talks about because He is Love. And the thing we have to remember is that He came to this earth for all of us—He died on the cross for you and me and anyone willing to call on His name.
Christmas is the story of God’s love for us: The story of the God of this universe who sent His Son into our world to meet us in our mess; The story of His Son looking beyond the surface of all our lives and seeing something worthy of His Love; The story of Jesus limiting Himself to human flesh and eventually allowing that flesh to be crucified for our sins.
So as we open our gifts this Christmas, maybe hoping for that special gift—that gift that we’ve been wanting and waiting for—my prayer is that we don’t forget the perfect gift of Love that has been given to each of us—the gift of Jesus—the gift of eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16