The nerve of my three year old Grandson to sit in my lap while watching Monsters, Inc. and say to my wife not once but three times, “I love you Grandma.”
Have you ever noticed how God relates to the world? He never dreams up a new vocabulary. He uses the one we use. He speaks our language. Love is one of those languages. When we talk about love, we can all understand it to one degree or another because we have all been in love. And that is how God has chosen to communicate to us.
But, have you ever considered the fact that God has a problem with His love? We’ve all experienced the same problem. We’ve all loved someone who didn’t even know they were being loved.
Because this is true about God, He is faced with several questions…
What do you do if you love someone and they don’t know you exist? You could try to get them to notice you. I’ve tried that. One time, when I was a college student, I tried to get a girl to notice me. I bought her some ice cream. I had a huge crush on her. I had a friend take the ice cream to her. She didn’t appreciate it. She sent it back. She said I was arrogant for not even asking her if she wanted some.
You must be careful when you want to love someone who doesn’t even know you exist. The best way is to get introduced. As far as God is concerned the Old Testament prophets were the introducers.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
It’s an old movie plot. The woman is a minor actress in a play or a dancer in a musical. She has a secret admirer in the audience every night. Night after night she receives a dozen roses with no name attached, just a card that reads “From a secret admirer.” She begins to wonder who he could be; she dreams of what he will look like; she thinks of him often. And then finally he asks her to dinner, and they fall in love and live happily ever after.
That is what God has done. We didn’t know Him, but He was watching us. He knew us and loved us. He sent roses. Sometimes those roses were the prophets. Sometimes He whispered His love in the trees and the sunsets and in the laughter of children.
And then at Christmas, God signed the card.
God is wise in the ways of love. He knows that if you want to get someone to love you back, you have to learn to be gentle. You catch a loved one the same way you catch trout. Carefully. Gently. That, dear friend, is what God did at Christmas. He knew love takes a while. He knew us. And so He whispered. That’s why He came as a baby instead of a king.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “When you love something, set it free, and if it never returns to you, it was never meant to be.” I have a different spin on that, “When you love something, set it free, and if it never returns to you…hunt it down and kill it.” (its just a joke)
It is a universal truth: Love that is forced is not love, its manipulation.
I can force my family to show signs of love, but I can’t force them to love me even though I am bigger than they are. I can say to my grandson, “You love me or you can get down out of my lap.” Or “I’ll put you in ‘time out’ if you don’t love me.” And he will hug me and kiss me and do nice things for me, but he will never love me. Why? Because love, in order to be love, must have a choice.
And that’s what God did at Christmas. He gave us a choice. He hit the ball into our court.
He said, “I love you, I have proven my love, but I will not force it on you. You must come to Me yourself. You don’t have to come to me with a gift, or with purity, or with even a love like Mine. But you must come. If you are thirsty, I will give you living water because I love you. But you must drink. If you are hungry, I will give you the bread of life because I love you. But you must eat. If you are tired and weary, I will give you rest because I love you. But you must lean on me. If you are sinful, dirty, I will forgive you and clean you up because I love you. But you must come.”
After all, the story of Christmas is a love story. Don’t be confused by the trinkets and the glitter. It’s not even about babies, stables and wise men.
Christmas is about love.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
Love came down at Christmas. Don’t miss it.