Yesterday was the last Sunday of Advent. The Sunday of LOVE.
Before Christ’s first arrival, most of humanity had a warped image of who God was. Even today, a lot of us perceive the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament to be two different personalities. The God of the New Testament is one full of LOVE and grace. While the God of the Old Testament seems merciless and wrathful. But the truth is they are one in the same.
Right smack dab in the middle of the Old Testament Nehemiah says,
Over and over again, we see our loving Father extend forgiveness, grace, and compassion to His children, Yet, they did not perceive Him this way. The oppression of the Law had given His children a misconception of who God was. Rather than viewing God as the loving Father who wanted a beautiful parent and child relationship with them, they saw Him as a tyrannical leader whose wrath was to be feared. And mercy after mercy, their view did not change.
This misconception of God’s character, I believe, is one of the reasons He decided to leave His throne in heaven and come be Immanuel, God with us, in the human form of Jesus.
With Jesus first arrival we, humanity, saw God the Father, on earth with us.
While here with us, we saw the LOVE of God demonstrated in Jesus everyday life, in the gentle way He spoke to the adulteress, showing grace instead of condemnation. We saw His LOVE in the way He tenderly acknowledged the woman who was an outcast because of her blood issue, calling her daughter. We saw His LOVE in the way He empathized with the heart Father of a dying child and comforted him with the words, “she will be well,” then brought her back to life. We see His LOVE in the way He showed affection for the little children that other adults were trying to shoo away.
With Jesus first arrival He showed us LOVE…
I like the way The Message Bible describes God’s LOVE in the opening verse of Ephesians 5:1-2. “Mostly what God does is love…”, meaning everything thing He does, He does out of LOVE for us. And His LOVE spares no expense but LOVES extravagantly!
And now we wait and remain in His LOVE with confidence that we will be saved from wrath on the day of judgement and be declared righteous by His blood.
We wait in His LOVE with expectancy of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life in His presence forever.
We wait for His second coming and the extravagant LOVE that we will experience when Immanuel, God is with us, in tangible form forever and ever.
In this final week of Advent, the week of remembering God’s LOVE for us as we wait in between His first and second arrival…
* Take time to read these scriptures today:
Nehemiah 9:17 – They refused to listen and did not remember your wonders you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love, and you did not abandon them.
John 14:11 – “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.
Romans 5:8-10 – But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath.
Ephesians 5:12 MSG – Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
1 John 4:16-17 – And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgement, because as his is, so also are we in this world.
Jude 1:21 – keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.
Ephesians 3:17-19 – and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
* Think About It:
Grab your journal and writing utensil, snuggle up under your favorite blanket in your favorite spot and take some time to think on the word “love”. Think on how extravagantly God loves us and how He showed us His love throughout His word. Record how you’ve felt the love of God in your life this Christmas season.
Blessings to you this Christmas and Advent season!