Christmas, Devotionals, Faith, Family, Life, The Bible, writings

What Is Love?

We’ve made it to the 4th Sunday of Advent! Christmas is just around the corner, a mere 7 days away. If you’re anything like me, you still have cards to sign and mail, gifts to wrap, and cookies to bake. If you’re one of those special kinds of people who have been ready since December 1, my hat is off to you. Now please come and help me out!

Now is crunch time, you see. It’s where we really get busy. Last-minute shopping. The kids are probably out of school, so we have activities or trips planned. We’re running out of time to go see all the lights and do all the things. Caroling, baking, plays and pageants, mad trips to the store. It’s the most wonderful and hectic time of the year. Here is where the rubber meets the road with our resolve to keep Christ in Christmas. Here is the test of our priorities. Here is where we must slow down.

Because if we don’t, we’re going to slide right past Christmas and before you know it, we’ll be packing away the tree and putting away the nativity set. All without taking the needed time to ponder, wonder, pray, and worship.

The 4th Sunday of Advent is usually devoted to the theme of love. Love is another thing we rush through. We’re too quick to say it, too flippant with its usage, and push the word out of our mouths like an automated voicemail when saying goodbye. No, I’m not advocating the abandonment of love, just like I’m not telling you to avoid baking those cookies or going to the mall. What I am saying is that we need to slow down and consider.

What is love? I’m sorry if I’ve just put the 1993 song by Haddaway in your head for the rest of the day. But what is love? A deep affection? A feeling? One of the disadvantages of English is that we have one primary word for love while during the times the Bible was written, there were several, each distinguishing the kind of love, such as a platonic friendship, a sexual or sensual connotation, or an absolute commitment to someone.

In 1 John 4:9-10, John writes to us, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

You see, sometimes we take the notion that God loves us, well, we take it rather lightly. God wasn’t content to just send a prophet or two to tell humanity, “I love you.” No, he demonstrated it. He made it known. It was made manifest for everyone to see. While some of the Old Testament was shadowed behind ritual and ceremony, the gift of Jesus was shown and available to everyone.

You know those times when someone does something nice for you, so you get them a little something as a token of appreciation. Maybe because you don’t want to feel like you owe them anything? God didn’t give us Jesus because we were good, or because we first loved him. No. That demonstrates his agape or steadfast commitment to our good, that he sent Jesus while we were far from him. Romans 5:8 says “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So today, this week, slow down and consider the great wonder of God’s love for you. Yes, for YOU. And celebrate the gift that is Jesus. He is the manifestation of Love.

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