12 Christmas Gifts from Heaven #9 – Love and Acceptance:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8).
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” (1 John 4:9).
All of the Christmas gifts from Heaven that God has given to us are priceless beyond measure, but perhaps this is one of the most wonderful of all. Love and acceptance. God showed us how much He loved us by His gift of His Son, Jesus. His only begotten Son. Wow! “When you read the Gospels, every time you see the Lord reaching out to help, bless, heal, comfort or deliver someone, you’re seeing the very heart of God. God loves people. His heart is deeply concerned for men and women and children…God so loved that He gave. That’s what happened at Christmas. It was a gift of love. Some say the tradition of gift-giving started with the gifts of the wise men. But the truth is, gift-giving began when God gave Jesus, His Son, to save us.” (Ron Mehl, Love Found a Way).
For today’s devotional, I want to share with you some thoughts from Brennan Manning. These quotes are taken from his book, “The Relentless Love of Jesus” and are reflections on Christ. My prayer as you read through them is, “that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
I come to the stable just as I am, not as I should be (since I’m never going to be as I should be), a poor, weak, sinful man with easy rationalizations for my inconsistent behaviour…the little Child looks at me, smiles, and says, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you. I expect more failure from you than you expect from yourself. Peace is my gift to you. Live this day in the wisdom of accepted tenderness.
God entered into our world, not with the crushing impact of unbearable glory, but in the way of weakness, vulnerability, and need. On a wintry night in an obscure cave, the infant Jesus was a humble, naked, helpless God who allowed us to get close to Him.
You could more easily catch a hurricane in a shrimp net than you can understand the wild, relentless, passionate, uncompromising, pursuing love of God made present in the manger.
The parables of Jesus reveal a God who is consistently overgenerous with his forgiveness and grace. He portrays God as the lender magnanimously cancelling a debt, as the shepherd seeking a strayed sheep, as the judge hearing the prayer of the tax collector. In Jesus’ stories, divine forgiveness does not depend upon our repentance, or on our ability to love our enemies, or our doing heroic, virtuous deeds. God’s forgiveness depends only on the love out of which he fashioned the human race.”
The ninth Christmas gift from Heaven that God has given to us is that of unconditional love and acceptance. God loves you! God accepts you! This Christmas Season, pray, have fun, drink eggnog, eat banana bread, exchange presents, go caroling, feed the hungry, comfort the lonely, and do all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.