Friday, December 21, 2007

One Explanation of the Importance of Christmas

The words to a hymn tell the story of God’s love coming down to earth on that first Christmas, and what our response should be to it.

Love Came Down at Christmas*

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, Love divine;
Worship we our Jesus,
but wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token;
Love be yours and love be mine;
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

*Puerto Rican carol, translated by George K. Evans. Sung to the tune of Isla del Encanto.
© 1963, 1980, Walter Ehret and George K. Evans

I’m not sure what that last line means, but the message of the last stanza is clear: love one another as God has loved us. The message of the first stanza is also clear: God’s love came down to earth at Christmas.

Depth of God’s Love

It is difficult for us to grasp the depth of God’s love, because it is beyond human comprehension. I certainly can’t grasp it – all I can do is experience it. When we look at Christ coming to earth and what he endured on our behalf, then we can begin to appreciate the depth of God’s love for us. Jesus was pointing to what he was about to endure on our behalf when he said at in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

That was Jesus’ main purpose in coming to earth, and that’s why we consider his coming as God’s love gift to us. When we are going through a tough time, we may wonder if God really does care about us. We aren’t immune from the suffering that is common to mankind, but we can experience God’s love and grace in those times of grief and heartache. Plus we have the guarantee of a place in heaven because we have put our faith in Jesus, who laid down his life for us. Let those famous words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 help you:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. NIV

We have that “eternal glory” in heaven because of God’s grace when we trust Jesus as our Savior. That is a comfort to us when things aren’t going well, especially during this season when we have such high expectations. As I said before, I can’t begin to grasp God’s love, but I know it’s there because all I have to do is consider all that Jesus gave up for me.

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