Jesus Christ, the Same – Advent 4: Love

Blind Faith (No. 48, 2014)
Weekly Devotional for December 18, 2014
Jesus Christ, the Same – Advent 4: Love

2014 FBC Advent Theme: Jesus Christ, the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
Fourth Sunday of Advent December 21, 2014: Love

Christmas is the ultimate love story. Entertaining stories and
fantasies may be cheerfully constructed about snowmen, reindeer, elves, and
a host of jolly, generous benefactors. Google “Christmas stories” and you
can find hundreds of online stories to read, videos to watch, and audio
files to play that range from the sublime to the downright silly. Such
creations offer warm sentiment and frolicking fun, but most of them fall
short of the unfathomable depth of love that is the core of the true,
genuine Christmas story of the birth of Jesus.

The full life story of Jesus is the best explanation of why
genuine love is inexhaustible. This year’s Advent theme, “Jesus Christ, the
same yesterday, today, and forever,” details the constant presence of the
authentic source of love. God’s love in Jesus eternally operates upon us at
all times, past, present, and future. Love conforms to a curious but
marvelously unique arithmetic. Love only multiplies. Genuine love is never
divided. Love that is fully shared never subtracts from the total available
by extending it to one more loved one. Love always multiplies, so that
extending love’s reach renews the quantity of love ready to express to

God, whose most concise description is, “God is love,” is the source of the
multiplication principle of love. Thinking about the story of the birth of
Jesus in the context of God’s love helps to clarify the multiplying nature
of love. John, the “beloved apostle,” sets love at the center of the story
both in the gospel and the letters he wrote. Each time you read love in
these Bible verses, think of God’s presence in the young family giving birth
to baby Jesus on the first Christmas and how that expression of love has
power to change your life. Note the operation of God’s love yesterday,
today, and forever in the descriptions of both our love and Jesus’ love.
Think, too, of how God’s love can multiply in your life so that you can
demonstrate love to others, who can then see God’s love transform their
lives. Love always multiplies. Here is John’s love story of Christmas:

The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we
really are his children.. {4:7} Dear friends, we should love each other,
because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child and
knows God. {8} Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
{9} This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into
the world so that we could have life through him. {10} This is what real
love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us in sending his
Son to be the way to take away our sins. {11} Dear friends, if God loved us
that much we also should love each other. {12} No one has ever seen God, but
if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is made perfect in us.
{14} We have seen and can testify that the Father sent his Son to be the
Savior of the world.. {16} And so we know the love that God has for us, and
we trust that love. God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God
lives in them.
{19} We love because God first loved us. {20} If people say, “I love God,”
but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love
their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they
have never seen. {21} And God gave us this command: Those who love God must
also love their brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:1a; 4:7-12, 14, 16, 19-21

[Jesus said:]”God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son
so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16 NC)

“God loved . God gave.” God’s love constantly multiplies as we give gifts to
one another, but especially as we give ourselves to one another. Love is
multiplied to its greatest factor when we give the genuine article – God’s
love expressed in Jesus Christ.

As you give Christmas gifts to one another, remember that the love expressed
by the present is the greatest gift. Remember with each gift you unwrap or
deliver to someone that these represent God’s gift of his Son, Jesus, to us,
so that we might truly live. Share God’s love explicitly with your family
and friends as you gather for Christmas. Watch how amazingly love will
multiply, so that your celebration of Christmas overflows with hope, peace,
joy, and love.

This is the reason for the season of Christmas. Merry Christmas, and God
bless you, one and all.

– J. Edward Culpepper