Think of all of the things you’ve been doing to get ready for Christmas this year. Think of all the preparations, the planning, the lights, and everything that goes into it – what one word would you use to describe your experience of Christmas? Family, food, presents, busy, full, exhausting, festive, celebration, lights, singing, church, baby Jesus. I’m curious – does the word love comes to mind.
There is a very famous passage from 1 Corinthians 13. It’s called the Love chapter. Recently I came across a version in which someone applied it to Christmas.
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny balls; but do not have love, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime; but do not have love, I’m just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity; but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the tree with shimmering angels, and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir; but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love does not envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who cannot. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.
Toys will break, necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.
Christmas without Christ and his love is simply another holiday or break or time off from work. You see, Christmas is a time when love came down.
One day over 2000 years ago, the God of the universe left the glory and the splendor of heaven, a place where there was no pain, no sickness, no accidents, no hurt, and no death. He came to the place where there is hurt, loneliness, pain, tears and death.
Yet, he came because of love. But it was not a soft, warm fuzzy love that came down that night. This was a heart-wrenching, full bore agape love.
As it says in the song, What Wondrous Love is This: Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul, Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
In coming down, Jesus didn’t simply bring the good news of God. Rather, he IS the good news. And the good news is this: That through Jesus you are forgiven. FOR unto us a son is GIVEN. FORGIVEN. Through his life and then his death on the cross, EVERYONE who puts their faith in him and him alone, are forgiven.
This is the love that came down for us. For you.
And if you let that sink in, but really sink in, you will have the greatest warmth of gratitude and joy of any Christmas you’ve ever had.
So if someone every asks you to explain Christmas in phrase you can say, “It was a day when love came down.”