Oh How He Loves Us
The Bible makes a startling claim: the God who created all that exists not only takes note of us, He loves us. We who are fallen and broken are created in His image in love and for love. And God doesn't love us because we're especially lovable. He loves us because it is His nature to do so. You see, the Apostle John said it clearly: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8 NIV)
How do we know this is true? God acted to show us the depth of His love for us by becoming one of us. In Jesus of Nazareth, the God of the universe took on flesh-and-blood and walked among us. It was Jesus who told us, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30 NIV) Jesus told Philip, "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9 NIV)
Christmas is about much more than family gatherings and gifts. It is certainly deeper than Santa and Rudolph and Frosty. Christmas is about the birth of the Son of God in our midst, born to redeem His people in love. Jesus did not come to our world merely as an example of love. Jesus came to do love's work of redemption for a lost and fallen world.
While He lived among us, Jesus demonstrated the deep love of God for his people when He healed the sick, fed the hungry and raised the dead. His entire life was devoted to showing us the face of God and wielding the power of God for our healing. The Holy One took on flesh not to judge us, but to save us! "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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17 NIV)
The Cross is the full proof of the Father's love for us. Jesus laid down His life to pay the price for the sins of the world. And He did it all in love.
Oh how He loves us!
No matter how far we have wandered, no matter what we have done in our rebellion, no matter how often we have ignored Him and broken His heart, God continues to love us. When Jesus looks at us, there is love in His eyes. When we come to Him in brokenness and sin, He gives mercy and grace. He already paid the price for all that stuff. His desire is to give us a new start and to make us all we were meant to be in holy love.
Oh how He loves us!
In 1885, Christina Rossetti penned a simple Christmas hymn that says it well:
Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, Love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign
Worship we the Godhead
Love incarnate, Love divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token
Love be yours and love be mine
Love to God and all men
Love for plea and gift and sign
Make no mistake here. You may feel distant from God. You may wonder if He cares anything about you. You may doubt He even exists. But you are loved. You are wanted. You are precious to Him. The proof is Christmas, and the Cross, and the empty tomb.
Don't fight His love. Run to Him. Cast yourself on His mercy. Allow Him to immerse you in His love and fill every crack in your life with it. Christmas will never be the same. You will never be the same.
Oh, how He loves us, so!