Devotion for the Week...
Can you believe this is the last week of Advent? It's amazing how fast this month has gone by!
For the first three weeks of Advent, we looked at Hope, Peace and Joy. This week we look at Love.
When we think about Christmas, it all comes down to love, wouldn't you say? That's why that first Christmas happened, after all. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Jesus came to earth as a baby, destined to grow into a man who would die on a cross, because of God's love for the world.
Sometimes it's hard for people to really believe that God's love is for them. The phrase 'the world' feels rather impersonal, so much so that it's possible for some to feel that God may love 'the world', but He can't possibly love them. In order to remedy that, I've heard people suggest we put our own names in the place of 'the world', so that I would say, "For God so loved Leanne..." and you would say, "For God so loved Martina..." or "For God so loved Jasmine...". That still doesn't really work for me, though. I find it feels too formal and stiff. How much better to simply say, "For God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son." There's nothing impersonal about that!
Not everyone will believe it, of course. Some still believe that they've done so much wrong in their lives that God couldn't possibly love them. How wrong they are! "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Did you see that? While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It has nothing to do with the things we've done right in our lives, and it has everything to do with His love for us. He came that first Christmas because God loved us enough to want to "[rescue] us from the dominion of darkness and [bring] us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" (Colossians 1:13).
Even more, the very fact that He did this while we were still sinners is proof of His love! He didn't wait until we realized how wrong we were, or how much we needed Him. He certainly didn't wait until we asked for help. He loved us so much that He came to our rescue before we even realized we needed to be rescued.
God doesn't love any of us because of all the right things we've done. He just loves us because we are His, and the demonstration of that love began with the little baby who was laid in a manger.