One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is to drive around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights and sipping hot chocolate. It fills me with a warm fuzzy kind of love for the season, people and family. But this is a sentimental kind of love. If we want to know true love we need to look to God.
There are certain things we know about the nature of God. Some of these things are that he is a spirit, that he is light and, we are told, that He is love. He doesn’t just love, he is love (1 John 4:8).
We may think that we know what love is, but because of sin we only have a partial and broken view of love. Sometimes our love is temperamental or conditional and sometimes we fall out of love all together. Here are some ways in which our love and the God who is love differs.
God’s love is unearned.
We love someone because something in that person has evoked love in us. A girl may fall in love with a man because he is kind, hardworking and handsome. But God’s love for us is not based on our virtues. He loves us out of his own will not because we are beautiful or good.
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you … Deuteronomy 7:7-8
God’s love is unchanging.
God does not love us more one day and less the next. He does not grow weak in his affection for us because of our failure. His love also does not grow stronger because of our performance. God love is always the same, and therefore he loves you, with a strong, powerful, passionate love today as he will tomorrow and the next day.
Because God’s love does not ever change we can, with confidence, hold onto Romans 8:35, that nothing can separate us from God’s love, not our sin from yesterday or our sins and neglect of him tomorrow. God’s love for his children is sure.
God’s love is gracious.
God’s love is gracious because in it he seeks the good of another, namely us. The biggest demonstration of God’s love is the giving of his son in order to rescue us. It is at Christmas that we celebrate God, perfect love, becoming visible. Love itself took on form; hands, feet, face and voice. True love walked among sinful people. Love divine chose to be raised by a fallen mom and dad, and to be worshiped by outcast shepherds. It was Christ’s love for his own that caused him to endure persecution and ultimately death at the hands of the very people he had made.
This should evoke in us a love for God so strong that we would gladly sacrifice everything to make him first in our lives. Are we willing to give up our time in order to spend it with him? Are we willing to share this wonderful love story with others without shame or excuse?
Pray that no matter how many times we hear the Christmas story that we would feel awe, joy and love towards such a perfectly loving God who saves sinners such as us.
Looking to Jesus,