Advent: Love Has Come
Over the past few weeks, we have affectionately followed the events leading up to the coming of Christ. We pondered the four hundred years of silence and reflected on the moments in our own lives where it seems as if God is silent. We looked forward to the hope of Jesus’ return and dwelled on the reality that it is He alone who brings true peace. We wondered anew at the joy Christ brings to our lives, even in the midst of painful or challenging circumstances.
This week, as Christmas arrives, I would like to turn our gaze toward Bethlehem and consider the great love of God. The greatest love of all.
God with Us.
First, let’s go back in time to the days before the four hundred years of silence. The prophet Isaiah spoke, saying, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: ‘Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).’” Isaiah 7:14 AMP
In Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus, he states that all of the events involved in the coming of Christ had come about to fulfill this prophecy.
What makes this prophecy so important?
It comes back to the name which the prophecy said was to be given to the boy – Immanuel. Immanuel means “God with us,” which sums up exactly who Jesus was and is. He is God. He is with us.
But why did He come? What is so significant about God being with us?
The Unfolding of Redemption.
John 3:16 AMP says this: “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
The coming of Christ is deeply intertwined with the love of God.
It was because of love that God orchestrated this master plan of redemption where His Son would come to earth, dwell as fully God and fully man, and then die for us.
His love carried the people of Israel through the four hundred years of silence.
Love sent angels with messages to Zechariah and Mary, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah and His Messenger.
It was His love that sent the angels to joyfully proclaim the good news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds and revealed the promise in the stars for the wise men to see.
His love paid the ultimate price for you and for me.
I want for us to consider that the meaning of Christmas is wrapped up in one phrase:
Love has come.
God is Love.
And the question that Love asks us is what our response will be. Will we acknowledge the love of God in sending His Son? Will we allow the hope and peace He brings to bubble up with joy in our hearts? Will we receive that love? Or will we turn away, reject it all, and go our own way?
“And Jesus replied to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’” Matthew 22:37-39 AMP
What will you do?
How will you respond to the love that has come?
I know that I need His unconditional love. I am overjoyed that God loves me. He loves me for the person I am, the person He created. I am grateful, thankful, and blessed for His love and acceptance. Will you receive His love today? Will you embrace all that He has for you?
Read and reflect on the words found in Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; John 3:16. Reflect on what it means that Love has come. Journal your thoughts. Listen for God’s voice. What is God speaking to you? What is God revealing? Will you act on God’s direction and leading?
Give the gift of love to others this Christmas. Ask God to show you where or to whom you can share unconditional love this Christmas holiday. Be present and offer unconditional love to those around you this most wonderful season.
Embrace and reflect the qualities of love found in 1 Corinthian 13:4-8. As you spend time reflecting on verses 4-8, how many of the qualities listed about love do you possess? What steps can you take this week to reflect the qualities of patience, kindness, humility, hope, and joy?
The Love of Jesus
Perfect Lamb that was slain
Once for all to redeem
Perfect love took our place
Now forever we’ll sing
Holy is the Lord almighty
Oh the love of Jesus
Oh the love of Jesus
Oh the love of Jesus
Is enough for me
His love is enough.
Embrace His unconditional love.