When we look at the Nativity scene, Jesus is naturally the center of attention. What is it about this little baby that sets him apart? What makes his birth so unique and special? I don’t have enough time in this blog or even in a lifetime of blogs to detail the characteristics of Jesus. But if I can choose one to highlight, let me choose love.
Obviously Jesus was not able to speak when He was born and we only have one event recorded from his childhood. Nonetheless, there are many verses throughout the scripture that point to Jesus’ love compelling Him and being a driving force behind his coming. Take a look at this passage for example:
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and thatyour fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another. John 15:12-17 NASB
As Jesus came into this world His mission was clear; save people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He had also stated that he came to serve people (Mark 10:45). The overarching character quality that motivated Him was love. Pure. Holy. Unconditional. Love. Jesus was the epitome of love and He embodied love to the fullest by laying down His life. This Christmas may I encourage you to consider the following example from Jesus?
Love is His Commandment.
Jesus states it clearly in the passage above that we are to love. This is not a request, suggestion or ideal. It is a command for anyone who would be likened unto Christ. Jesus says He has given us an example and that example started in the manger, where out of great love for the whole world, Jesus takes on flesh and bone to walk among us! Sometimes followers of Jesus can get hung up on all different commands but Jesus makes no bones about it, to love is His greatest command for us to obey.
Love is His Choice.
There is no doubt that loving people can be difficult at times. Feelings of love and joy, peace and happiness are not always going to accompany us in our real-life relationships. However, love we must remember is a choice. It is an action that produces a greater good for those around us. In the passage above Jesus says He “chose” the disciples; they didn’t choose Him. Perhaps this Christmas the greatest thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to make a different choice? Choose to love. Choose to respond differently. Choose to act instead of react.
Love is His Character.
Everywhere Jesus went, people followed in wonder and amazement. He not only healed people but He loved them! Love kept people coming back for more! It’s easy for us in our society to substitute gifts and things for real heartfelt love. Christmas has been commercialized and many have bought into the idea that stuff is going to make them happy. But there is nothing that will ever take the place of a warm hug, or a loving embrace. Suicides are not high because people don’t get the things they want, they are high because people feel empty and unloved. As followers of Christ this Christmas, ma I encourage you to adopt a loving heart and develop your sense of compassion. There is nothing greater that you could give to Christ this Christmas than to be more like Him in this area.
Questions to think about:
Is there anyone that is hard for you to love?
How does viewing the love as a command change the way you approach it?
How do you practice love?
Do you only love those who are “lovable”?
How will you practice love this holiday season?