Christmas can get messy, can’t it? Complicated, convoluted, chaotic even. Between the scheduling and shopping and travel agendas I’m over here feeling a little overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by all the details and family dynamics and how to make the most out of the week ahead. And while I’m busy staying overwhelmed by all the crazy – whose house we’ll open which presents at and what church service are we going to and can I get the out of town siblings their presents in time – I’m realizing I’m entirely too underwhelmed by the existence of Christmas.
I get up early. Before the sun. Before we head out the door to another day of work. In the stillness of this Monday morning, the freshness of this weekend’s much needed snow, I light the candles. Four this time. Hope. Peace. Joy. And this week’s: love.
The closer we get to Christmas the closer we get to love.
It’s such a small word to describe a big thing, isn’t it? It’s such an overused word to explain such a world-changing experience.
Sure, we love our family, our spouses, our pets, our house. We love our morning coffee and the sparkling white snowflakes and our favorite Christmas movie. We love our country, our community, our students, our world. But as often as we use this word, as frequent as it falls off our lips and into our every day conversation, do we have any idea what love is? And could we possibly comprehend the extent to which God loves us?
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. -John 3:16-17 (MSG)
His son, his one and only son, his beloved son. He gave him up, he surrendered him up to death, that he might love us. That we wouldn’t have to face the impending destruction that is creeping ever closer. That we wouldn’t have to face eternal death. So that we might live – truly live – in freedom, wholeness, abundance. He loved us to death that this crazy, chaotic, convoluted world, and all our crushed hearts within it, might be put right again.
And in the light of this love everything else seems to dissipate. All those little things that pile up into big things, all those details that seem stressful and relationships that aren’t easy and schedules that look daunting — they fall back into their rightful place. And our hearts have room to marvel, to be overwhelmed, by this amazing grace, this wondrous love.