Summary: Love is a word that is used in so many ways that perhaps we have lost sight of the depth of it’s meaning. In the last few hours or days many of us may have said something like, ‘I love my spouse. I love my morning cup of coffee. I love my dog. I love hock

December 20, 2009 – Love

In my search for some stories and thoughts for today’s message, I came across these thoughts from a former pastor in Texas…thoughts about Christmas, and what it means to people in different situations and in different places. Maybe this will remind us all, as it did me, what Christmas is all about…

(Melvin Newland, Minister Central Christian, Brownsville, TX)

I wonder what Christmas means to a mother who has lost her husband, who must take care of 3 or 4 children, working every day, never quite getting everything done, never making ends meet? What does Christmas mean to her?

I wonder what Christmas means to the little man in Zimbabwe, 80 years old, living in a hut, who knows nothing of shopping malls or Christmas trees? What does Christmas mean to him?

I wonder what it means to little Korean children with smudges on their cheeks, & sparkling eyes that look up in wonder as you walk past? What does Christmas mean to them?

I wonder what it means to missionaries who are half a world away from families & friends, who are sacrificing so much to take the precious gospel message to others who have never heard it before? What does it mean to them?

I’m sure that it means different things to different people.

To merchants it is the busiest time of the year. Stores stay open longer, & hire extra people to accommodate all the shoppers. It means more profit, hopefully enough profit to see them through lean times ahead.

For some it means a Christmas bonus, a little more money in their pockets to do things that they want to do.

For many teens and adults it is a time of fun & parties. For children it is a time of impatience, with time seeming to pass so slowly, as they wait for Christmas morning.

But sometimes I get the feeling that we are like the folks who decided to throw a party to honour a very special friend. They sent out invitations, decorated the hall, & had the food catered. All the people came together at the designated time, but to their surprise, the guest of honour was not there.

Finally, they made the embarrassing discovery that no one had ever invited the guest of honour.

I wonder if that happens at Christmastime? Do we go through all the decorating, & buying presents, & preparing elaborate meals, but somehow forget whose birthday it really is?

One family tried to overcome that by putting an extra place at their Christmas table for Jesus, & calling Christmas, "His birthday party." When one of their daughters was asked if she got everything she wanted for Christmas, she answered by saying, "No, but then it’s not my birthday."

It isn’t our birthday, is it? It’s the Lord’s birthday & it’s a time to remember His birth & what it is supposed to mean to us. (end quote)

Christmas is not about presents or turkey or parking lot battles or line-ups or 24-hour shopping or re-gifting or going into debt or sending cards to people we never talk to or spoiling our kids and ourselves or watching cartoon movie re-runs from the 60’s or re-makes of all the same ones or buying batteries for toys that will be broken in an hour after opening them or anything else like that.

Christmas is about one simple thing that made the biggest difference in the lives of people all over the world from one moment in time until now and forever into the future…love. Love for you, me, our kids, our families, our neighbours, our boss, and our employees, the people who live across town and the people who live half-way around the world. Whose love? God’s love!

God’s love for the world of people HE created and His longing to have us love Him in return. Love that brought Jesus Christ, God, down to this earth as a little baby in what we now celebrate this time of year as Christmas. Love.

I’d like to read little something for you from a book I read last year and continue to look back on over and over. This is Max Lucado’s book, ‘3:16 The Numbers of Hope’ in which he goes into beautiful detail on perhaps the most well-known verse from the scriptures. Listen to this:

(read pgs 141-142)

Love is a word that is used in so many ways that perhaps we have lost sight of the depth of it’s meaning. In the last few hours or days many of us may have said something like, ‘I love my spouse. I love my morning cup of coffee. I love my dog. I love hockey. I love it when someone else messes up more than I do…’ So does it mean the same thing when I say, ‘I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or I love my wife Stephanie?’

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