One of my family’s Christmas traditions is to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. For us, this movie is a classic. We sing along with all the songs and quote many of our favorite lines (which I think drives my husband, who did not grow up with this particular film, a little nuts). One of my favorite songs in that movie has a line, “where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas.”
I’ve found that to be true in my life. When I’ve felt particularly loved, I’m often reminded of the feeling that I get around the holidays. Reading the Bible, that makes perfect sense. After all, the Christmas story at it’s core demonstrates God’s great love for us.
God’s Great Love For Us
When humanity fell in the garden, they spurned God’s love. They ate the fruit and disobeyed God, turning from His love rather than remaining loyal and obedient to Him. With the coming of Jesus, God has made a way for us to return to God’s loving family.
This was not an easy task. It cost God a great deal. It cost Him His one and only son. His son didn’t just have to lower himself and become a human for our sakes. He also had to suffer and die a terrible death on our behalf.
But we’re worth it in God’s eyes. God is willing to give up what is most precious to him in order to bring us back to the family. This is easy to say and in some ways easy to understand, but it’s really difficult to grasp at a heart level.
Christmas Through Christ’s Eyes
You live a perfect life. You’ve never felt pain. You’re perfectly loved by your Father. You are beautiful. You are powerful. You are glorious. You have infinite wisdom. Then your Father calls you over. He tells you to look at something. You look. You see dirty, awful people. They’re all stinky. They can’t get along. They’re always doing things to hurt your Father even though He loves them deeply. Your Father tells you that He wants to adopt all those people. He wants to make them part of the family again.
However, in order to do that, you’re going to have to become one of them. You’re going to have to give up your beauty and become an ordinary human. You’re going to leave behind your glory and be born out of a woman. It’s going to be messy. You’re going to have to wear diapers. You’re going to have to be cared for like a helpless infant because you’re going to be helpless infant. You’re going to have to go through that awkward middle school phase. You’re going to have acne. You’re going to fall and scrape your knee and feel pain.
You’re going to make friends with these humans and one of them is going to betray you. You’re then going to have to die an excruciatingly painful and shaming death on their behalf, knowing full well that many will still walk away and reject you and your Father.
The Greatest Love of All Time…
Knowing all of this, Jesus still consents to coming to earth. Jesus does all of this for us. And God has to watch him do it. He has to watch His own son be misunderstood and mocked and beaten and killed. Though he has the power to intervene, He can’t stop it if He wants to save those sinful people. Yet he does it because He loves us all so very much.
It’s honestly incredible to think about. God wanted us back that badly even after we rejected Him. It’s easily the greatest love story ever told. There are no close seconds. It’s an utterly one-sided relationship, but God’s willing to put it all on the line for us.
What do we do in response to such love? We should probably weep. We should definitely rejoice. We should also seek to honor that love by returning it.
…And How You Should Respond
We often misunderstand Christianity as a set of rules to follow, but that’s not it at all. The “rules” are there to show us the kind of behaviors that God desires. Just as a spouse has things that annoy them and things that make them feel loved, so does God. Like in any good marriage, we should try as much as possible to do the things that please God and try not to do the things that hurt him. This isn’t done out of obligation. This is done out of a profound sense of love, or it least it should be.
This Christmas, as you think back on what God has done for you, may you be overwhelmed with the love that God has for you. May this be the year when you truly grasp how crazy God is for you. May you heart be made full of love in return. May your obedience to God be driven not by obligation, but out of a profound sense of love.
Merry Christmas to you and your family! May God bless you tremendously in the coming year and may we all come to better know and understand the lover of our souls!