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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Gift of Christmas … God So Loved

For God so loved the world…
John 3:16

Hard to believe ladies, but it’s the 1st of December already—twenty-four shopping days to go. Before we get frantic, let’s stop and consider the greatest gift of all. John 3:16 is way too familiar, but oh so chock full of Christmas spirit. The stores will wait.

It all began with love. Long before time as we know it, before night and day, before the separation of the land from the seas, before the sun, the moon and the stars, God was. And as Timothy Keller describes in his book, The Reason for God chapter 14, love was at the very essence of His being. Consider God’s triune nature. He was never alone. The Son and the Spirit and the Father were always a part of the Godhead, always in relationship with each other, separate yet in synch in their dance of divine love.     

In simple terms, God could not help but love. Moreover He could not help but love the man and woman He eventually created. After all, He created us in the image of the triune God, to be in a love relationship with Him, as He was with the Son and the Spirit.

The thread of love can be traced in the Bible from creation to eternity. The writers of the Bible have much to say about God and love:
  •            Deuteronomy 7:9: God’s covenant with His people was a “covenant of love”.
  •            Joel (2:13) and Jonah (4:2): “The LORD your God is…abounding in love”.
  •            Matthew 6:4, 7:11, and Luke 11:13 (MSG): we were “conceived in love”.
  •            1 John 3:1: the Father has “lavished on us” His love, precisely because “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16).  

Indeed, God so loved us all. He loved us when we were very, very good. He even loved us when we were bad. And He still does—that’s what pure love is all about.  However, not even His agape love could propel us into heaven, once sin got in the way. The holiness, the pure side of His nature would not be compromised.

Just the same, the love God had for us proved to be the motivation for salvation. He set out to do whatever it took to get us back into the circle of divine love with Him.   

Nancy P

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