Summary: That’s what you are going to find in this text this morning…what true love is. You are going to find in God’s word…1 John 3, what the real reason for the season is…You will find what the true motivation for living is.
Living the Life With the Greatest Gift
Scripture Reference: 1 John 3:1 – 9
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.
I had cut back on nonessential obligations -- extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s "Winter Pageant." I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production.
Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
During the final dress rehearsal as I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas", I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment -- songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my son’s class rose to sing, "Christmas Love", I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
Those in the front row -- center stage -- held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing, "C is for Christmas", a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy", and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love".
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her -- a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down -- totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood -- the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
CHRIST WAS LOVE.
That’s what you are going to find in this text this morning…what true love is. You are going to find in God’s word…1 John 3, what the real reason for the season is…You will find what the true motivation for living is…You will find not just one motivation but several to get your life in a forward motion towards the goal of living to please God.
Over the last several weeks we have been ministering on the subject: Living the Life…that is, living the life that God intended for you to live. John has been giving us a study in contrasts…love vs. hate…truth vs. lie…light vs. darkness…obedience vs. disobedience…the world vs. the Word.