This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9
ADVENT DEVOTION – DECEMBER 22
Our theme for this Christmas sermon series has been Love Came Down. It’s easy to skip over the word love without really considering its full meaning. But to miss the meaning of love is to miss the true meaning of Christmas.
The Greek word translated into love in the above passage is agape. Agape love is an unconditional and sacrificial love. This type of love declares, regardless of who you are, despite anything you’ve done, or even how you feel about him, God left heaven and came down…for you.
The incredibly humble act of leaving heaven demonstrated his divine love for humankind. You didn’t deserve it, you didn’t earn it, and you could not stop it. He came down both in spite of you and because of you–in spite of anything you’ve ever done (He is yours.) and because of who you are (You are his.).
Love is both a noun and a verb. 1 John 4:16 says “God is love.” God is the very definition of love as a noun. In Jesus, he embodies love. Love is not only his character; love is who he is. Everything else that comes from God is wrapped in love–discipline, grace, mercy, judgment, forgiveness–all are rooted in love.
Love is also a verb. Earlier in Scripture, John wrote perhaps the most often quoted verse when he described love in action: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). This is the most tangible act of love. It is all at once supernatural, unexpected, unrelenting, eternal, relational, wonderful, and divine.
In her poem, “Love Came Down at Christmas,” which was first published in 1885, Christina Rossetti said it this way:
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.
Love coming down is God showing up, getting personal, coming close, relating, communing, and revealing. It is, truly, love loving.
How amazing is your love for me that you would leave heaven for my sake? Let me experience your agape in a new way and reflect your love to others in unconditional and sacrificial ways. Thank you, God, for the gift of your love, for coming down, and for Christmas.
Pastor of Discipleship Materials
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