“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I remember being in Zellers when our oldest daughter was 2 years old and she was belting out this familiar tune at the top of her lungs. It happened to be the Christmas season and we were shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoebox items. There was the odd glance or curious stare, but no one stopped to join in and lend some harmony to her wobbly soprano. Apparently flash mobs were not all the rage yet! As I’ve replayed this scene in my mind again this Advent season, it has reminded me how easy it is to casually glance at God’s love and not really stop and take hold of the deep beauty of His abiding love for us.
God’s love is written to us in the pages of Scripture from creation to revelation. We may not always feel it or understand it, but it is always there (I have loved you with an everlasting love ~ Jer.31:3). At Christmas, we reflect on God’s ultimate expression of love to our world in giving His one and only son. I love the Jesus Storybook Bible’s oft-repeated take on this: Jesus came to show people what God’s love was like–His wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love. Love gurgled from a simple stable, healed a man of leprosy, played with rambunctious kids, had supper with the least of these, taught followers how to live, cried out from a rugged cross and smashed the power of sin and death. This love is available to each of us in our good moments as we decorate beautiful colour co-ordinated trees (that would be yours… not mine!), our bad hair days dashing out for that last minute gift, and in our lonely and weak times when we struggle to understand the circumstances we’re in. David says in Psalm 36:7: How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
This amazing love also moves us to love others. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Our love for those around us can be genuine, because it truly comes from Christ. He can give us that extra measure of love when we’re running on fumes and it’s easier to criticize or be rude. With God’s love, we can forgive those who have and may continue to hurt us. His love can spur us on to get involved in people’s lives even though it may be awkward, messy or inconvenient. We all will have moments this Advent season to express God’s love to our families, friends, neighbours and even strangers. This will look different for each one of us, but the love comes from the same abiding source… God with us… Emmanuel.
Prayer: Thank you Lord that love came down to us in such an unexpected and profound way through your son Jesus. We are grateful we can completely trust in your un-breaking, always and forever love. Help us to know we are loved by you in those moments when we don’t see or feel it. We want to love you with all our hearts and humbly ask that you also give us what we need to love and serve others. Amen.
Song to listen to: How Deep the Father’s Love ~ The best and most loving gift that could have been given to us… Jesus!
Contributed by Corilyn Loewen