Abundantly Love

Abundantly Love

God showed how much He loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. 1 John 4:9-10 NLT

From Thanksgiving until New Years, the holiday season can overload your to-do list. It seems like the year was just coasting along. Then suddenly, you are shopping for the “perfect” gift, attending as many Christmas events as you can, and being a host or hostess worthy of Martha Stewart. It can feel like you’re in this time-pressured, task-oriented race to the finish line of a happy family and sufficiently celebrated holiday. A performance-based Christmas can definitely steal your joy and rattle your self-worth.

Year after year, I try not to let stress turn Christmas into a competition. One way I do this is allow Christmas music to bring me back to the reason for the season. Yes, I know, there must be no less than 1,000 versions of each classic song, and some radio stations start as early as November 1st, which can make these great songs fade into the background.  However, the key is not tuning out, but listening in. You just might hear God’s voice, and it may be the very remedy you need to see Christmas as something more.

Let’s consider “O Holy Night.” Altogether, this is a beautiful song. However, hidden in the first verse is one lyric that is an expression of the spirit of Christmas: “’Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth”. The coming of Christ fulfilled a promise. His birth is foretold in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah 7:14*, which speaks of the virgin birth. Not only will this birth be a miracle, but is indeed the promise that offered humanity redemption. It was the first necessary step towards Easter and the cross. So, when Jesus was born, as this song says, we all discovered that we were worthy. In all our sin, we were still important enough to God to keep His promise and come for our souls.

This also reminds me of God’s love. Christmas is all about God giving us His best, because He loves us. John 3:16* begins, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son…” (NLT). The Bible echoes this sentiment again in 1 John 4:9-10*: “God showed how much He loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love” (NLT).

Doesn’t that warm your heart?  In the midst of the hectic holiday season where we’re desperately trying to keep up, we can be at peace, because we have already found worth and love in the Father. It doesn’t matter if you missed sending your uncle a Christmas card or your cookies didn’t come out right. The perfect holiday is not the best decorations on the block. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that we are loved just the way we are.

I hope that your heart is full this Christmas. No matter how much you battle with your self-worth, know that Christmas serves as the ultimate act of validation. Let me assure you, you are worthy and you are loved. Look around you. There’s a whole holiday dedicated to just how divinely adored you are.

Abundantly Loved, Pastor Steve