Sunday, December 21, 2014

All I Want for Christmas

All I Want for Christmas
December 22, 2014
John 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."

If you've spent any time in a church the last few weeks or on social media, devout Christians have been doing a great job reminding us what Christmas is all about---the birth of our Savior.  I don't know if it is genuine or not, but Christians seem to work hard at keeping our focus, at least outward focus, on what we are really celebrating, the birth of Christ.  Nonetheless, we still buy tangible gifts for other people and work hard so our children have plenty of gifts to open, too.  If we are aware of children who may have it rough this time of year, we even work hard to make sure they also have Christmas presents.  Aside from the amazing birth of Christ for a moment, it is also a fantastic time of year where people are a little bit more giving to others.  It's nice to see hearts warmed through giving.  It's also nice to see other hearts warmed when they receive at Christmas time (even if they are expecting something).

In fact, that's what the Lord was doing and a large part of what Christmas is fully about.  Yes, Jesus came as a baby in a manger, but the Lord gave His one and only Son to us.  It was the most lavish gift we could receive from the Lord, His Son, Jesus.  And even more important than that was WHY God did it.  He told us all it was coming, a Savior would be born.  Mankind was expecting it, the gift of a Heavenly King, incarnate.  But God did it because He loved us.  He loved you and me when He sent us His Son, and He loves you and me even right now.  There is a huge message of love in Christmas, and it is demonstrated through gifts.  The first gift was Jesus and it was the most loving gift the Lord could give, a gift we never deserved.

So, in keeping with a sometimes controversial tradition at Christmas time, I would like to tell you what I want for Christmas, and it isn't quite as unselfish as peace on earth.  What I want for Christmas is to feel the love of the Father.  Cognitively, we know He loved us when He sent His Son, but when was the last time you felt genuinely loved by the Lord for no reason at all.  I want people everywhere, at Christmas time, to sense the magnanimous love of the Lord in their hearts, not just one day out of the year but every day.  I want the love of the Father to permeate our beings whenever we think of Jesus, salvation, forgiveness of sins, or even when we see the symbol of the Star of David.  I want the Love of God be to so present in our everyday lives that it changes our behavior, our demeanor, and our attitude.  I want people, especially myself, to be filled with so much love of the Father that is exudes from our pores.  I want to be filled with so much love that other people want what I have.  Yes, it might seem selfish, but it's what we all want.

This Christmas, when you give a gift to those on your list, remind them not just of Jesus coming as a baby, remind them WHY Jesus came as a baby.....because the Lord loves them.  Read the story of the birth of Christ at Christmas, but don't forget to tell everyone the Lord loves them, that you love them, too.  Christian, you may not FEEL very loved right now, but that does not negate the unexplainable love of the Father.  He loves you and wants to remind you of this today.  If you can't feel the love of God, then stop making up reasons as to why He would have to love you.  So often, we shove out His love because we can't think of a reason to be lovable.  When you realize that He loved you BEFORE you were even born, then you realize His love was never based on your actions, but simply for the person of you.  So, it's OK to feel loved today, because it's true.  Merry Christmas.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: 
Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, John 15:16, 1 John 3:1-2, 1 John 4:19

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