Good morning faithful weekend readers! For those of you caught in the country-wide storms, I hope all is well for you. There was so much destruction and chaos in those storms, including loss of life. At Christmas-time, it makes it all even more devastating. I urge you to pray for those who have lost so much. You may not know them, but God does!
As a kid growing up in northern Wisconsin, I loved the heavy snow (for dad—not so much-shoveling snow is hard work). We kids would get the toboggan and literally fly off the roof of the cabins in our resort, and land on the lake—most of the time. Those misses had us digging out from under the snow. Either way, it was exhilarating. We didn’t care about the snow that found it’s way into our snowmobile suits, gloves, boots, etc. It was the ride! And Christmas? That was usually those huge drops of big snowflakes, oh the joy!
What do you love about Christmas? What memories grab your heart? As our lives develop and take different turns, sometimes we feel a loss from those days, as if they will never return and there is nothing to fill that loss.
The Prophet Jeremiah experienced such loss. His country was exiled and embraced pagan religions which broke his heart as well as God’s heart. He wrote Lamentations, probably along with others, and even amidst the love that he felt was lost, he wrote (3:22-23 NLT): “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” The power of his words reminds us that God never stops loving us no matter the situations we are in. God even loves those who don’t love him—what kind of love is this?
For us and the society we live in, “love” is a somewhat overused and watered-down concept. More like warm fuzzies and niceness, or of couples whose hearts go aflutter when they see each other, or common reactions like “Oh, I just love that.” But Jesus’ love is so much more than any of this. Jeremiah was right, and what he wrote gives us clarity into exactly what God’s love and compassion does for us and the importance that it never ends…such is the evidence of this by sending Jesus to live among us, and die for us that we may rise with Him.
Would you do what Jesus did? Could you leave a palace to be born in a stable and live a life in a humble town as a carpenter? Jesus exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. If you were God, would you? Max Lucado says this about our Savior: “Jesus humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. Why? Because that is what love does. It puts the loved before itself. Your place in heaven was more important to him than his place in heaven, so he gave up his so you could have yours.”
Yes, we all yearn for something we loved that seems to have slipped away but don’t give up! It’s time to let the love of Jesus cover all the things in your life, like every promise broken, every cross or harsh word—the hurts that only Jesus’ love can heal.
I want you to again think of your life but this time dwell on the love that you experienced and how that love made a difference for you then and how it still impacts your life today. Take some time, dig deep in the “storage of your heart” for there is where you will find that, as lost or hurt as you could have been, God’s love healed it. Think of this exercise as giving yourself a “love present” this Christmas.
Tomorrow is the lighting of the last Advent candle which represents Love. I love the short song that many sing on this candle “Light one candle for Love, one bright candle for Love; Christ brings Love to every heart, He comes, He comes!” And our answer should be “there is room in my heart for You.”
In closing, I again want to share the encouragement from my friend, Max Lucado who reminds us: “Jesus’ love covers ALL things. Let it. Do it for his sake, for the peace of your heart. Do it for their sake, for the people in your life. Let his love fall on you so yours can fall on them.” O Lord, may it be so, AMEN!
P.S. If you would like to hear a new and beautiful Christmas song about love, click on this YouTube URL for Sarah Hart’s new single, See What Love. I hope it fills you with God’s love!