Ha! We had our family Christmas last night. My sisters and their families, including five children under the age of 5, and two dogs, made for a rocking’ evening. A niece flew across the country to be with us. Colorful presents everywhere and a bunch of little kids eager to dig in. I think the entire house was shaking with excitement.
Then came the opening of gifts. Boxes, paper, singing dolls, foam swords, Legos, and race cars were everywhere. Confusion? Just a little.
But it was so fun. The gifts that were given and received were done so in love. There was something personal and special about each one. And there were lots of hugs. It really was a great evening.
But I’d be ok not to do that again until next year!
This morning, I was reading the three short letters John wrote. They are found toward the end of the Bible, and I thought it was fitting that John’s theme seems to be, love. Love is what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?
John points to Jesus as our example of love and reminds us that we are to love like Jesus loves. God is love, John says. And those who know him, who have him living in us, must love each other.
So what does that look like? Is it a warm, gushy feeling? Is it the reaction to a kindness shown us? (I just love the earrings you gave me)
Jesus, by example demonstrated love for us in that while we were still sinners, he died for us. He didn’t sit back and feel love. He showed it. Love is something you do.
Love is not even close to what modern society tells us: that we can’t help who we love, or that we “fall” in love like it’s out of our control. Those ideas are lies from Satan to cheapen true love, the love of God in us that propels us into action. Love is a choice to set aside ourselves and concern ourselves with the welfare of others, both in this life and for the life to come.
Jesus gave up a throne to become a baby in human flesh. Jesus gave up comfort to go into the world and tell everyone he saw about the way to the Father. Jesus gave up his life to buy my forgiveness, and yours.
That’s love. Jesus said people will know we are his if we love one another.
My prayer is that we all will choose to demonstrate Christ’s love as we look forward to another year. May we go out of our way to befriend an unsaved neighbor, to reach out to a hurting coworker, to pick up the phone and reconnect with that person we’ve neglected far too long. May we actively demonstrate the same kind of love Jesus showed when he was born in that manger 2000 years ago.
In other words, may we live Christmas 365 days a year.