Monday, December 8, 2008
Day 8-It's all about love
I've been looking around my house for a little book my grandfather wrote called A Family Christmas Treasury, but after several fruitless searches I resorted to borrowing a copy of my mom's last night. The book was written several years back, probably when I was in high school, and I really couldn't remember a single thing that was in it before opening it up this morning. But even without remembering, I just sorta knew that it was going to have something I needed to hear. I wasn't disappointed.
I've written about Papa before, but for those who haven't been following that far back, I'll just sum it all up by saying he is my all-time hero. I still miss him all the time, but it's moments like these today when I'm so grateful for everything he left in books or sermons or videos. It's not the same as having him here, but it sure beats nothing!
So this morning I pulled out the Christmas Treasury book, and tried to pour through several sections before the girls woke up. Immediately, I knew that the book put into words exactly what is in my heart this Christmas. The first line of the first page says this, "Did you know that the true message of Christmas is found in John 3:16? Jesus said, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' This is the heart of Christmas."
That's really it, all summed up, without the extra words and additives. Jesus came to earth as a baby, spurred on by a love that is greater than anything I'll ever be able to grasp. He knew the whole plan, even the part including the cross, and still He came. Philippians 2:8-10 says "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow on heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." That's every bit as essential to the Christmas story as the manger and the shepherds and the wise men.
Jesus came as a baby to ultimately save us through His death. It was love from start to finish.
That's why the greatest gift any of us can give this season is love- the kind that isn't looking for praise or acknowledgement; the kind that doesn't expect anything in return. It doesn't matter if it's my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, my neighbors, or the people I meet who I don't really know - without love as the motivation, nothing I do for any of them is going to amount to anything special. I can fill my days with "good deeds" until I'm exhausted , but it really boils down to meaninglessness if it doesn't come out of the overflow of love that I have in my life because of Jesus.
As the season gets into full swing, I want to go through everything, the fun and frivolous, the meaningful and sacred, with the love and hope I have because of Christmas.
Wishing you all the best as you go through the season, looking for ways to Take Christmas Back!