First and foremost, I want to wish all of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Because of the holiday and newspaper printing schedule, this is coming to you a little early this week. Let me also thank everyone for reading my articles all year and being so gracious with the kind words I receive many times from you, the readers. I hope to continue to write these children’s messages and show God’s love and glory through them to you. God has blessed me with this chance to share my thoughts and hopefully, tell God’s story in a way for everyone to understand.
I saved the last Gift of the Spirit especially for today – LOVE. Christmas is the best example of love I can think of. Because of God’s great love for all of us, He sent His Son to be born as a baby in a cattle stall to a poor family. Jesus agreed to His Father’s plan, both of them knowing that this was just the beginning of the greatest plan that has ever been – the plan to give every human being a way to be forgiven, saved, and spend eternity in heaven. They didn’t make it easy for themselves. No, God and Jesus knew that being born a baby and growing up was just the prelude to the suffering and condemnation that was to come. But remember, that was not the end of the story. Yes, Jesus suffered and was killed, but He rose to go back to His Father in heaven and is with us always still today. Because of His sacrifice, we can know that we will be are able to stay with Him forever and see our loved ones again. We all probably know John 3:16 from the Bible, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
All that had to start though with Christmas and the greatest love ever imagined. Love did come down at Christmas for you and me and everyone on this earth. Because of that love shown to us, we must show that love to others. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” and then we read in 1 John 4:8, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Wow, those are very powerful verses for us to remember throughout the whole year. It’s not always easy to show love especially when we’re angry or hurt or unhappy. Too, we must realize that being loving does not mean we let people hurt us physically or emotionally. We can have love and forgiveness in our hearts, but not let anyone continue to be abusive to us. That is not what God is talking about. We need to try to incorporate all the Gift of the Spirit into our personalities and be the sort of person God wants us to be, and it all begins with love. In 1 John 4: 19 we read, “We love because He first loved us.”
The Bible says it better than I could ever explain love, so listen to these verses from John 4: 9-12, “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 ours sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
Let’s say a Christmas prayer about love. Dear God, thank You for being a loving and gracious God. Thank you that Your love is perfect, and nothing can separate us from that love. We ask that You would fill us with Your love, so we can bring honor to You and make a difference in the world. Happy birthday, dear Jesus! Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.