Love is interesting as a word because we use it so often (“I love this show, pizza, etc..”). It is also one of the most powerful things on the planet. Love is more powerful than fear, anger or revenge. There are tons of movies, shows, and songs sung about love. I would even say that most of the stories that have been passed down throughout the ages have deal with love, no matter what the culture or people group. Yet we still use the word loosely…
The dictionary defines love as
- an intense feeling of deep affection.
- a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
- a great interest and pleasure in something.
It is a word that can be both a noun and a verb. Or in different words, it is something that is both an emotion and a decision. An emotion as there are times when we have that intense feeling of affection; a decision because love is more than just emotions. When things get tough and relationships are hard, we don’t stop loving just because we lost an emotional feeling. There is a decision that keeps us going through the pain and rough parts of life.
Speaking of decisions, have you ever thought about the decision Joseph had to make? Here was a man well liked by his community engaged to get married to the daughter of another well-known community member who had the reputation of following God. Then out of the blue his gal was found to be pregnant!
At first everyone thought that he, Joseph, had slept with her. But instead of confirming this rumor, Mary, his fiance, claimed that she did not have sex with him or anyone else for that matter. No, she claimed that God visited her one night and created a baby inside her through his spirit!!
What was Joseph to do?! He loved Mary and didn’t want to do her harm…
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. –Mathew 1:19
Only the Lord God had other plans. He sent an angel to Joseph and told he what was going on:
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” –Mathew 1:20-21
Yet, Joseph still had a choice to make. He could listen to God and take Mary as his wife, rumors and all…. or he could play it safe and divorce her quietly… In the end we know that Joseph chose to take Mary has his wife and raise her son as his own in spite of all the rumors and nasty talk going on in the community.
You see, like Joseph, God has put his reputation and plans at risk in an effort to love us. When God created the heavens and the earth, he did something very unique. He made man and women in his image and breathed life into them. Unlike the rest of creation, humans had the freedom to choose between walking with God or to rejecting him. They could choose between good and evil.
It was a risking decision that God made – one that could mean the destruction of everything he made. But He loved us so that much that he took a gamble on us and gave us the freedom to choose. And even when we made the choice to reject him, God still loved us. In fact he loved us so much that he decided to invaded human history to show us a new way of living:
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. -1 John 4:9-10
This is love. Not merely an emotion nor a decision made lightly. It is true love – something so powerful that it’s voice rings through the ages.
This brings us to our choice. We can choose to accept God’s love or not. The choice is there regardless of what we do as God’s love has broken the chains that bind us and set us free. We just need to say “yes, Lord” and walk after him. We have to shake off the old, unlocked chains and be free.
This is what Christmas is about. The Love of God invading the world and setting us free from the bonds of evil one!
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. –1 John 4:13-19
Celtic Advent Prayer
God of the watching ones, give us Your benediction.
God of the waiting ones, give us your good word for our souls
God of the watching ones the slow and the suffering ones, give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls that we might rest.
God of the watching ones, the waiting ones, the slow and the suffering ones,
and the angels in heaven, and the child in the womb, give us your benediction,
your good word for our souls, that we might rest and rise in the kindness of your company.[/box]