The whole point of the Christmas story is love. The Bible makes it clear that the birth of Jesus was the result of God’s love for his people. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT). Knowing what we needed, God sent Jesus to embody love and show us how true love looks. God wanted to be with us and love us personally, so he sent Emmanuel, “God with us.”
While Jesus was on earth, he lived a life of love. He cared for all people, intentionally reaching out to those who were considered outcasts or less-than by society. His interactions with others demonstrated that God loved them, freely offered forgiveness, and invited them into a new life.
Jesus’ love changed people. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who defrauded people for his own gain. After encountering Jesus, he vowed to repay four times what was owed to anyone he’d cheated. Jesus’ love and acceptance changed Zacchaeus’ heart, proven by his transformed behavior.
A Samaritan woman drew water from the town well during the heat of the day to avoid being shamed and ridiculed by others. Receiving love and forgiveness from Jesus resulted in her becoming an evangelist to her town. She stopped hiding from others and instead shared her encounter with Jesus with everyone who would listen.
Lives are changed by experiences of radical love. Jesus understood this and tried to ingrain this message into his disciples. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV).
At Christmas especially, we should be striving to follow this command and love those around us in such an extravagant way that there’s no explanation except Jesus. What are some ways we can make love the central message of our Christmas season? We can imitate Jesus by words, thoughts, and acts of love as well as teaching others to love.
Read the rest at The Glorious Table.