“But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8, NRSV
My grandparents had a farm in northeast Ohio where Christmas snow abounded. Family gatherings held special adventures - sleigh rides to the old covered bridge. We would follow a process: runners waxed, seats cleaned, horses hitched, blankets added, hot chocolate prepared, driver seated, passengers boarded, then bells jingled while snow flew.
We also followed a process when we became Christians. As unrepentant sinners, we caught a hint of prevenient grace. As rebellious children, we learned our separating sin. As penitent seekers, we recognized the cost. As young followers, we gained personal salvation. As growing worshipers, we shared the message. As mature believers, we mentor others to discipleship.
In the Advent season, we retrace our Savior’s path. We anticipate His birth. We watch Him teach the elders in the temple. We see Him call disciples. We follow His journey. We witness His miracles. We hear His message. We remember His death. We savor His resurrection.
God’s great love shines in this season of anticipation. We must live it honestly. We must show it graciously. We must share it generously. We must proclaim it enthusiastically. We must embody it humbly.
In the Advent spirit, we recognize this tiny baby is our salvation. He later died for us while we were still sinners. He gave us hope. He gave us joy. He gave us life. He gave us peace. He is God’s proven love.
By Keith Whitehead, Immanuel UMC, Northern Kentucky District