Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas: The Beginning of a Love Story

My husband and I began dating when I was 16.  And by dating I mean talking at school. We lingered in the hallways discussing our ball teams and summer plans.  We discussed our homework before school started. We joked around with friends while rushing to get to our locker and back to class.  I don’t have many specific memories of our early “dating” because it was just part of normal. Love stories can have quiet but significant beginnings.

A manger in a barn was an everday occurrence. So were women giving birth.  The start of the greatest love story in the history of the world was quiet. Only some shepherds were told that God had come to earth.  It was also significant. What great love called Jesus to leave heaven where He was adored and glorified as the Son of God! That same great love captured the Father’s heart. He loved me so much that He sent His Beloved from His presence for thirty-three years. Jesus came to suffer. He came to know temptation, to be persecuted and made fun of, to cause grief to those who loved Him. He came knowing the purpose. He came to die.
The climax of the story is the cross. It’s powerful and life-changing. People take notice of an innocent man dying to save the world, not from some other enemy but from themselves. He came to save us from our own sin. To stand in our place and take our punishment.  Often we can feel pity for someone suffering at the hands of another, but rarely do we have sympathy for those suffering by their own actions. We think it serves them right or that they must be stupid.  Jesus loved us so much that He would come to take the punishment we brought upon ourselves.

We see God's love through His actions. 1 John 3:16 says, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." We can understand God's love because we see it lived out. It wasn't words or warm fuzzy feelings. It was actions that put our good above His.

This month we are celebrating the start of the ultimate love story. This love has transformed my heart and my life. May that love work through me to reach out to others.

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