Love shows the way

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

We’ve all had a lot to face up to particularly throughout 2020.  No matter who we are, we’ve had to change in ways that were impossible for us to contemplate, ways that would end up becoming a way of life.

From face masks, regularly sanitising to keeping away from each other these are some of the ways of keeping safe from a virus that up until a few weeks ago had no cure.

Recently there has grown a sense of unease, how long will this go on, I can’t stand it a minute longer. particularly, when the Christmas Tier 4 measures came in, which ruined Christmas for many.

Why was that, why did the Christmas changes bring such a strong reaction?

For many Christmas signifies all the things we treasure most; buying and giving of gifts, food and drink to be shared with one another, family time, the anticipation of our family’s response to the gifts we painstakingly chose.

I wonder what your expectation of Christmas was.  What do you feel you missed out on this Christmas?

We’ve heard much from the Churches across the world about the true message of Christmas, the hope of a world in need and the love of a God expressed through the gift of a child.

Has this child made any difference to your Christmas?  Does God still feel distant and out of reach?

I suspect what is missing out of all our Christmases is love.  If we’re honest it isn’t just this Christmas but other Christmases in the past that left us feeling wanting.  Many of which we only remember the good bits as this helps us to pin our hopes on the next one which we promise will be better than the last one, that the next Christmas will be happier, will be filled with more laughter and more love? 

But each time the next Christmas comes we fall out with someone or someone doesn’t respond in the way we expect or the turkey wasn’t cooked right. Then our desires for the perfect Christmas are exposed, and we are left with disappointment and regret. For many they feel they always miss out on Christmas, this Christmas was as lonely as the last one and the one before that.

Whether we like it or not that baby born in a manger does hold the key to the love we are seeking, he can show us the way to what makes, not just the best Christmas but holds the key to the best future any of us could wish for.

The one thing we all have missing in our lives is true love, the love we were created to know, the love we were created with, the love we are desperately looking for, the love we can know in the here and now, the love that has provided a future so amazing we can’t believe it.

I recently came face to face with the fact that I didn’t really know what love is.  I knew it was something I wanted, I knew it was something I wasn’t always good at doing and I knew that it was something that came from God, but I wasn’t sure I knew what it was apart from that fuzzy feeling you get when you find someone or something you know you can’t live without.

In 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 Paul told the church in Corinthian a few home truths about love, he knew they didn’t know how to do it because they didn’t know what it was.  They thought it was expressed through all the things they did for God, they thought it was something that you gained for yourself, they thought it was something you did for others so God would think you were great. 

1 Corinthians 13:4 ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’ (niv)

What a challenge for us all; this is what love is and it is only found in the person of the ‘baby born on Christmas morn’.

This is the love with which God loves us and he sent Jesus to bring his love to us and to teach us how to love with his love.

This is the love we need; this is the love we are missing; this is the love that eradicates the darkness and brings hope to a lost, broken, empty world, a world refusing the love of God, dead set on a trajectory of self-destruction.

Can you imagine a world that loves well, a world that loves with patience, no envy, no trying to be number one, not trying to reach the top of the ladder, a love that doesn’t reject because it wasn’t loved enough; a love that puts others first, a sacrificial love, a love that doesn’t demand, a love that doesn’t expect, a love that rejects all evil, a love that is filled with the freedom only truth brings, a love that never fails, a love that always does the right thing?

Before you make plans for your next Christmas, I pray that you seek the Saviour who came to earth to rescue you from the darkness of the evilness of sin and to show you how to love as he loves, the perfect love of God, the only source of love and goodness.

There is one thing I do know before next Christmas; I have a lot to learn; thankfully I know just the person to ask!

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