Note: This post was originally written the day after arriving in Sweden (November 29th), but I decided to wait and post it today. I'm praying that each of you and your families experience God's love in abundance this Christmas.
|I am in Sweden this month, celebrating the holidays with loved ones and as I sit here writing, I am thinking about the capacity of God’s love for us all. I think about the political climate in the States and around the world, the social conditions, children being abandoned, families fragmented, and what appears as a growing climate of hatred and resentment toward others. Many will celebrate Christmas this year as they have done so in the past, decorating homes with trees, lights, and ornaments. Stores will offer competitive prices in order to entice consumers to make purchases. There will be the endless line of buyers waiting for the doors to open for the sale of the year and the words, Merry Christmas will be superseded by the words: “I saw that first!” Some will go into debt in order to create the aura of good times. Some will become so despondent that the thought, life isn’t worth living will consume them; and some will end their life.|
Some will grapple with the dilemma of the next meal as they stand in line waiting for some charitable act of kindness. In Sweden I am told, there are no homeless people; a concept which is foreign to me as an American! In America, we discard so many things, food, clothes, and human lives. In Sweden, clothes, appliances, furniture and food are donated in each locality; seemingly nothing is discarded. How wonderful it would be if all of America took on that attitude of giving!
The disciple John who watched as Jesus hung from the cross (John 19:25-28, NIV), dying a slow and painful death understood the depth and quality of God’s unchanging love. Years before that moment occurred, Christ was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem (Matthew 1:18-25, NIV). I seriously doubt that many realized that this baby, born into the family of a carpenter and a virgin would fulfill the promise of God to save all humanity. This promise is revealed in God’s love for humanity.
There are varying opinions on the nature, quality and characteristics of God’s love. Some think that God’s love should satisfy my every wish and whim; much like the concept of Santa Claus. They think: "if I am good, then God will reward me". When that does not happen, the attitude is to turn away from God because He didn’t do what I deserved.
Some think that God’s love is measured, parceled out in minute amounts at unexpected times, and for unexplained reasons. When God isn’t dispensing His love, He is issuing punishments to those who displease Him. This causes an attitude of intimidating fearful uncertainty that I am not loved by God.
For varying reasons, there are some who believe that God does not exist; that the universe is just the result of a series of random occurrences. But this opinion fails to adequately address the origins of life, and why we have never been able to find life on any other planet.
I choose to believe not only in the existence of God, but in the salvation He promised through his son, Jesus Christ.
The biblical record (Matthew 2:1-2, Luke 2:1-20, NIV) sufficiently documents not only the foretelling of the birth of Christ, it records the event as well; Christ was born in Bethlehem as witnessed by the shepherds and the wise men (from distant lands) who witnessed the star proclaiming his birth and followed it to his exact location. History documents the birth of Christ; it also confirms the men who governed the Roman cities and occupied territories during his life on earth.
But even that isn’t enough.
My spirit bears witness with the accuracy of God’s written word (Acts 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 1:5-7, NIV), agreeing that Jesus Christ is Savior and God. I am reminded of countless times when I didn’t feel loved or I myself didn’t love. I cannot make that accusation against God. Even when I did not know or acknowledge Him, God loved me (Romans 5:8, NIV).
So as another Christmas appears on our horizon, let us all remember the price that was paid by Jesus that we would be reconciled to God. Let’s remember that we were bought with a price that no one else could or would pay but God!
That fact alone tells me of His love!
|Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).|