Welcome to the final week of our Christmas Advent series! We have discussed the rich meaning and symbolism behind the individual candles of the Christmas Advent Wreath. All the while, we have been discussing how the given topic calls for worship. The lighting of the last candle traditionally represents the fourth Sunday of Advent. This candle is typically purple and titled the LOVE candle, representing the greatness of God’s love, which was displayed in the baby boy, Jesus Christ.
Christmas is About Love
I’m sitting here tonight, Christmas night, overwhelmed by the greatness of this holiday season. You would think that, being a preacher’s son my entire life, I would get tired of all the old church Christmas traditions… But I don’t. Every year I feel like I understand the meaning of Christmas all over again in a new and fresh way. Yeah, I won’t lie… Stress does come with the season, between all the last minute shopping, cooking, gift-wrapping, and so on. But at the end of the day, Christmas isn’t about any of those things - Christmas is about love.
“At the first Christmas God was making a revolutionary statement about His own heart (Revelation 22:17).” – Cam Huxford, Senior Pastor at Savannah Christian Church
What is Love?
Webster’s dictionary describes love as, “A feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” In the world we live today, love is based on attraction, feeling, and emotion. It’s conditional and mercurial; to prove it, look at the divorce rates in our culture. What ever happened to true, honest love?
Scripture defines God as love; love is God (1 John 4:8). God’s love is true, everlasting, never failing, and never changing. God’s love is UNCONDITIONAL! His love is pure and divine; it truly does go beyond human comprehension.
I believe one of the most well-known, yet most underrated verse that defines the greatness of God’s love is John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Now I want you to go back and read that Scripture again, but slower. Ok…. Again, but even slower. Say it over and over again until the Word tugs at your heart. THIS is God's love!
Check out these lyrics ("Born to Die" by Bebo Norman):
Majesty had come down
Glory had succumbed now
To flesh and bone
In the arms of a manger
In the hands of strangers
That could not know
Just who they hold
And the angels filled the sky
All of heaven wondered why
Why their King would choose to be
Be a baby born to die
And all fell silent
For the cry of an infant
The voice of God
Was dividing history
For those with eyes to see
The Son would shine
From earth that night
Every time I hear this song, my heart is overwhelmed with the greatness of God’s love. It’s easy to say, “God came to save,” but there is something powerful about knowing that He came down, leaving His throne in Heaven, to save a desperate world. This is love in action… Christmas is as much "Amazing Grace" as it is "Away in a Manger."
Come close. Listen to the story about a love more faithful than the morning. The Father gave His only Son just to save us. The earth was shaking in the dark. All creation felt the Father’s broken heart. Tears were filling Heaven’s eyes the day that true love died. – "True Love" by Phil Wickham
Love and Worship
The Biblical term for "love" derives from the Greek word, "agape." "Agape" means "selflessness" and "sacrifice." In previous discussion series, we discussed how worship is a lifestyle – everything we say and do should honor and glorify the Lord, especially when it comes to love. As Christians, we are called to love our enemies and to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). We are called to treat others how we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). Based on our definition of worship, it’s easy to say that love is a form or worship. Worship is an expression of our love relationship with God.
In the aches and pains, God is on His throne! You NEVER have to second-guess how much or if He loves you! His love is unconditional. There is nothing that could ever separate us from the love of Christ. The only thing you need to do is have faith. “Faith is putting your whole trust in what Jesus did for you when He came to a stable in Bethlehem and then died on a cross outside Jerusalem to pay for the sins that separate you from God” (Cam Huxford). Have faith in God’s love. Without love, there is no true hope, peace, or joy that could ever be found. True love does exist; all you have to do is seek Him and give Him your heart.
Passages to read: 1 John 4:7-12, John 3:16-21
Recommended Track for the Week: