"For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved." - John 3:16-17
In my parents’ family with five boys and grandchildren and now great-grandchildren, we always have to be careful that some present does not get overlooked or thrown in with the waste paper. At Christmas it is easy to get caught up in magi and angels and shepherd boys … in the stable and animals and straw in a manger. It is easy to be enthralled by the wonder of the angel choir singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven.” Over in the corner is a great gift in a small package, the gift of God’s love, His perfect love embodied in the person of Jesus. God did not just become incarnate, God’s love became incarnate.
These familiar verses from John are not usually connected with Christmas, but look again. This is how God loved the world: God gave His only Son, and God sent his son into the world. This is how God loved the world.
One of the few Christmas songs dealing with this love is No. 242 in the UM hymnal:
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. – Christina Rossetti, 1885
I pray that God’s love would not be lost in all the goings-on this Christmas.
Rev. Scot Hoeksema
Grayson Bagby Memorial UMC
Kentucky East District