Monday, 12 December 2016

A Thought for Christmas

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

The birth of Jesus on that first Christmas, was the ultimate act of God who loves humanity. If we put it in the context of ourselves …

Who would put their only child into a place of extreme vulnerability and danger, if they could avoid it? Who of us would be prepared to let that child die to offer peace, reconciliation and eternal life to a humanity that in most parts was not going to be interested and did not care? I think none of us.

But God's love for humanity is so awe inspiring in its magnitude, so beautiful and rich in its expressions, so wonderful and amazing. Consider what he has created for us to enjoy, the entire universe and everything in it, it is difficult to understand such love. We can try to reduce it to what we know – comparing it to human love, which, while it can be good, giving and generous, is often fragile, self focused and broken. We can reduce it to a love for something like food or a car or a film. Nothing near the same as God's love for us.

Through that vulnerable child, born to Mary, God poured out his love for us. Drenched us in its perfume and wonder. A love that has no boundaries, a love that cannot be measured in any way that we know of. A love that forgives and restores, a love that breaks down barriers, a love that makes an end of hostility and violence, a love that calls all to the greatest wonder of all – God.

John tried to express it in his first letter -

1Jn 4:9 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.
1Jn 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

All who accept that love from God, become God's children, love beyond measure is our blessing. But such love cannot, should not, must not be contained within us alone. It is poured out to us so that we might share it. So that the meaning and importance of that first Christmas would bring to life each and every person as we share God's love with them.

Because God, so loves humanity, he has, through Jesus, made it possible for anyone to know him and to be set free from the cost of sin. Those of us who know that can show it to others. Paul tells us in Romans 5 that God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We have been given the tools to do the job ...

Perhaps the most beautiful way in which we can show God's love this Christmas is to express it to someone who has no experience of it. The way in which we do that will depend upon the person and their experience of love and what their needs are. But a simple way is to tell them, show them that they are loved. Go and tell the good news to all people that God loves them.

(spend a moment reflecting on who God may be asking you to show that love to)

1Jn 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!