So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13
2016 has been a challenging year. It would be easy to focus on strife and struggle only to end the year without hope. Over the last twelve months our world has seen so much death, destruction, hatred, and lies. If we ever doubted that we were sinners living in a sinful world, surely social media has crushed that misconception! We need to be reminded of the grace of Christmas every day and it seems especially desired as we end this year and look toward 2017.
The message of Christmas is about faith, hope, and love. A God-given faith that strengthens us, a hope that gives us courage, and the love we need to live, work, and nurture those we encounter each day. The message of Christmas is so much more than angels, shepherds, and a baby in the straw. It is everything. It is forever. It is Salvation.
The children of Israel had waited countless generations for a Messiah. They waited through sin, through victory, through evil kings and occupation. The faith that sustained them continually pointed them toward a manger – even if they did not recognize the Gift when it cooed in the hay.
For generations Christmas has filled the hearts of God’s children with hope. We have hope for what the Savior can accomplish in our lives. We have hope for peace on earth. We have hope of someday entering heaven and touching the face of God. We must remember that the hope of Christmas is not a fingers-crossed kind of hope. It is an empty-grave hope. It is a hope that is assured because of the love of the Father, the work of the Spirit, and the death and resurrection of our Savior.
Yet, as important as faith and hope are to our lives, love is certainly the greatest of the three.
God is love and the baby Jesus is that Love walking and living among us. We so desperately need this love and yet we throw it away in favor of the things and worries of the world. Christmas makes us stop, and listen, turn to our faith, live in hope, and most importantly - love.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things. Love never ends. I Corinthians 13:7-8a
Our world needs the Love of Christmas now, more than ever. We pray that God will allow us to block out the world and to feel this love and live it in our home, in our church, and in our community.