This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
– 1 John 4:10
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love all the twinkling lights, the joyful music about the birth of our Savior, the atmosphere of love and giving of gifts, home and family, the midnight Christmas Eve service at the church and all the traditions that we have come to know and associate with the Christmas season. One of my favorite childhood memories is of the Christmas Eve program at our church. There was a large Christmas tree that all the church members helped decorate, little shepherd children, angels with cardboard wings, Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, plus all the traditional Christmas carols. In the audience were those who had traveled home to spend Christmas with their families. It was an exciting and memorable event for me as a child, especially during a time when my parents were unable to lavish us children with many gifts.
A few years ago I heard of a group of people who determined that celebrating Christmas, giving gifts and decorating a Christmas tree was associated with paganism and that Christians should not participate in this celebration. One day during that Christmas season, I was driving to a friend’s home and was talking to the Lord about Christmas and how much I enjoyed the time of year. I asked Him what He thought about Christmas. He spoke to my spirit and said, “Christmas is a time of love,” adding that He loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son that whoever would believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (see John 3:16). God loved and He gave. That’s why we can joyfully celebrate the Christmas season by loving others and giving gifts as an outflow of that love. Giving is a natural outflow from a heart that deeply loves. It is not important if the date of Jesus’ birth is exact, but it does matter to God that we love and sacrifice our lives for one another, not only at Christmas but also all year long.
Let the light of the love of Jesus twinkle in your heart and shine in your countenance as you celebrate the Christmas season. Observe how Christ loved us. His love is 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!