Love is willing, sacrificial, and powerful!
Christmas is a celebration. If there is ever a gift to remember and to be thankful for – it is the birth of Jesus, only to be superseded by His death and resurrection. Even if we stopped there, we would have mentioned every gift we actually need!
With the coming of Jesus to earth, we are given the free gifts of salvation, relationship, mercy, grace, and love – true love, the likes of which we cannot know in earthly relationship. For all that we know about love, Christ’s love is the definition of perfect love. When we explore the definition of love that we find beginning in I Corinthians 13, we see the qualities of love that Christ embodies to the fullest. Jesus is eternally patient, and always kind. In Christ, there is no envy or strife. Christ is always a gentleman, who is not easily provoked, never causes us to be drawn to evil, never rejoices in our sin, but is Himself the truth and the life. Christ will bear every burden, believe in us when we don’t even believe in ourselves, pour His hope into our hearts, and walk with us as we live in this present world. Christ never fails. That, my friends is love.
For for all that we know of gifts, in that gifts are something given willingly to someone, Jesus Himself embodies the definition of a gift. We read in James 1:17 that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” And in Ephesians 4;7, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” And in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
Jesus is a gift freely given to the whole world. And those who believe in Christ are able to receive the gift of Jesus. All we must do is take the gift.
In Jesus, we find perfect love, which is the perfect gift. It’s the love that we all want to receive and the love that we, as humans, try so hard to emulate.
In coming as a baby to Earth, Jesus demonstrated that love is willing. Christ willingly came to earth, leaving the splendor of Heaven, doing the Will of His Father. True Love is being willing to serve and to put the needs of others ahead of our own.
In dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus demonstrated that love is sacrificial. Christ sacrificed His own life, dying a human death, to pay a penalty for a debt of sin that He did not owe – but for a debt that we created in our sin. True Love is sacrificial, meaning that true love involves the surrender of something belonging to us for the sake of someone else. Jesus’ sacrificial death embodies true love.
In rising from the dead, Jesus demonstrated that Love is powerful. It was the power of God and His powerful love for us that allowed Jesus to rise from the dead. That power is the same power that is available to us. In Ephesians 3:20, we read, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Love is powerful. And the love of God “is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). God’s love is powerful, and when we allow God’s love to work through us, God can do powerful things through us.
Jesus demonstrates that perfect love is being willing to put ourselves aside for the needs of others; and it’s sacrificial in that we surrender our needs for the needs of others. But most importantly, it’s powerful, as we allow God’s love to work through us, and as He sanctifies us into the people that He would have us to be, then and only then can that power, His loving power, flow through us.
Christmas should be about remembering. For this season, make it about remembering love. Remember when love was bestowed up on you through salvation, through your friends, through your family, through your church family. Remember when strangers were kind, and demonstrated the love of Christ. Remember when God moved mountains in your life, your family, your job, and your health, because of His powerful love. Remember when people sacrificed for you, to get you to the place where you are today. Then pause, and remember when you have had the privilege and the willingness to sacrifice for someone else, that you could be God’s hands in this sinful world. Remember when you allowed God to inconvenience you for the sake of love, for the sake of someone else. Remember when you yielded yourself enough to God that His plans, and His power, worked through you to allow you to show the love of Jesus to someone else.
We have so much to be thankful for due to the love of Jesus that works in our hearts. Don’t forget what He has done for you. Don’t forget what He has done through you. These are equally miraculous – that He would love us enough to die for us; and that He would love us enough to clean us up to be useful to Him. Never forget the blessing of being inconvenienced so that God can use you. It means that He trusts you to do His work.