[Note: This was a Christmas devotional I originally wrote in 2014 as a guest post on a friend’s blog. I decided to publish it here this Christmas season.]
We think of Christmas as a time for being extra nice, spreading cheer, and perhaps opening our wallets to give to those in need. Those are all wonderful acts of love. For those of us who follow Christ, those things hopefully come from an overflow of a heart that has been filled and transformed with Love.
I would like to take a few minutes this Christmas season to reflect on a different perspective. I suspect it is an angle of Christmas that is not thought of often: the risk.
Love is a choice. Without the freedom to choose to love, it is not true love.
When He chose to create human beings, He decided to love us more than we can fathom. Because He loves us, He wants our true love in return. That means that He had to make us with a freedom to choose to love Him back.
Think about God on the cusp of Christ’s birth that first Christmas. To be about to give the biggest gift of Love to humankind. Ever.
I think of Him partly as a parent, Who is so excited for Christmas because they are about to give their kids exactly what they wanted, plus more, and can’t wait to see their delight and hugs of appreciation.
But then there is the risk factor. Have you ever thought of the risk, the gamble, if you will, that God took in creating humans with free will? What if the Gift is rejected? What if it is soon replaced by something else seemingly bigger and better? Is this display of Love going to be worth it?
God rejoices exuberantly when someone chooses to receive His ultimate gift of Love. At the same time, His heart is broken and grieving for those who choose to reject His Love.
The gift of the tiny Babe in a manger is the ultimate expression of Love. I hope you have received Him! This season, think also of the risk God took for you…and for everyone else. Praise Him for His saving grace. Return His love by your faith and obedience. But also pray fervently for those you know who have rejected His Gift. The gravity of that might break your heart, too.
Like the star that the wise men followed to get to Jesus, may we shine like stars to point others toward God’s love. “…you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world…” (Phil. 2:15 AMP) “For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come to worship Him.” (Matt. 2:2 AMP).
Who do you know that needs to receive God’s gift of Love? Commit to pray for them.
What can you do to spread God’s love?
Do your attitudes, actions, and words shine in the dark world as examples of His love?
With His Peace, Love, and Joy,
2 thoughts on “When Love Came Down”
Hey, Kristen, thank you for your post. I just recently had an epiphany about Epiphany myself. I’ve been filling the pulpit a couple times a month at the Presbyterian church I grew up in (my mom still attends there), and for the past year, they’ve asked me to follow the Lectionary (and by default, the liturgical calendar). In my college years, I had switched to the Christian Church (Independent) and have been with them for over 40 years now. I never really kept up with the liturgical calendar.
But last month, the Presbyterian church wanted me to do a message on Epiphany. I had to do a bit of research, and came across Mystery of the Wise Men by Dwight Longnecker. I won’t spoil the read for you, but he makes a convincing case that the wise men were NOT from Persia. Doing the message was a real eye opener for me, and had got me thinking about the potential value of recapturing those liturgical holy days among evangelicals. Peace to you and your family.
Thank you for your comment and for reading! Thanks for the book recommendation, too. It sounds very interesting! I’ve been more and more into church history and early christian history lately, so when Epiphany came up on the calendar, I thought I’d take the opportunity to research and write a little about it. Peace to you.