“And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV). During the past few weeks, we have been preparing our minds for Christ’s birth by talking about hope, peace and joy. This week we look at love. While Joy may be one of the harder weeks of advent to allow into our lives, love is probably one of the easiest. We all love to love and we all love to be loved. I think that is why Paul says it is the greatest of the three. With love, anything is possible. Without love, well, things are very difficult.
While we talk about things we love, places we love to go and even people we love, there is no love like the love God has for all of us, the world. Matt Tullos, pastor of Bluegrass Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, shares a story of such love. “He couldn’t do anything for himself. Born with cerebral palsy, he sat in the wheel chair loving every second of the Christmas musical. He faces challenges that I can’t even imagine. His body wrecked by a disease with no cure. He sat in the back of the auditorium, perhaps wanting not to distract. And sitting next to him was a proud mother, I couldn’t help stealing a glance throughout that evening, to see her stroking his hair, wiping his mouth and smiling all the while. She adored him. I had to meet this amazing mother. She was a single mom who had just moved to Tennessee from Kansas.”How do you do this all by yourself?” I asked. “He’s my life. He’s the greatest blessing that ever happened to me,” she said. This two-person family had an eternal effect on me. I received a glimpse of the love God has for me. Despite my constant battles with sin and personal rebellion, God loves me like that.”
I really like this image we have been given of God and His love for us. We all have our issues. We all have things about us that need to be worked on. However, those things don’t keep God from loving us. We tend to look at others through the glasses of humanity. We have pre-set boundaries and limitations that people must meet in order to be accepted by our love. Our love consists of what you can, or will do for me. These things are pre-set. Most of the time they are not at all flexible or adjustable. They are set in stone. Do it this way, or else. I appreciate the fact that God loves unconditionally. We are His gifts. Everyone is a gift of God. No matter how others look at us, God looks at us as that mother looked at her child, with eyes of love.
During this time of year we can be thankful that God loves us because we are His. There is no greater gift than the love of God. Paul said it best, “and the greatest of these is love.” Until next week…
Peace and Blessings… Johnny