1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Love Came Down
I would listen to Amy Grant’s Christmas albums as I decorated my Ganny’s tree and decorated her house for Christmas from my freshman year at Winthrop 1998, when she broke her back, through Evy’s first Christmas in 2008 when she was weeks old until Ganny died in September 2009. We celebrated at her house that one last Christmas. Ganny and I had a special relationship from our love of books and tv shows to the latest snack food. We were kindred spirits. We were both oldest daughters with two younger brothers and had similar tastes in everything, even our love of knick knacks. I grew closer to my grandparents during these times of decorating and on the trips I took in college to stay with them. They showed me their great and unconditional love.
This scripture passage tells us much about God’s love. God is love. God sent God’s own son Jesus, not because of anything we did or did not do, just because. Have you ever had a “just because” love? No matter what, no matter what you did or you didn’t do, no matter what you were loved. Just because….you were YOU. You were fearfully made for God’s purpose. God knit you together in your mother’s womb and knows every hair on your head. My Ganny and Gandaddy loved us grandkids enough to count every hair on our heads, to kiss away our boo boos, and to show us that “just because” kind of love. Just because we were their’s, just because we are God’s, God’s love for us knows no bounds. Even when we frustrated the heck out of them or they were disappointed in us, we still had their unconditional love, just because. It was never a question. Ganny said at my Gandaddy’s visitation, “Walk around and let the people see y’all. He talked about y’all all the time. People talk about someone being the “apple of my eye,” well, y’all were his very eyeballs.”
In verse 12 of our passage it says, “12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” I saw God and God’s love, I felt God’s love, I KNEW God’s unconditional love in my Ganny and Gandaddy. And you know what, I can see them again, because of God’s great love for us. God sent Jesus to atone for our sins on the cross so we can live with Him for eternity. That shows and proves God’s great love for us. On her first Christmas album, Amy Grant wrote “Love Has Come” with Shane Keister and Michael W. Smith. They get more and more excited as the song goes on and by the end they’re blaring out,
“Love has come
For the world to know
As the wise men knew
Such a long time ago
And I believe that angels sang
That hope had begun
When the God of glory
Who is full of mercy
Yes, the God of glory
Sent his Son
And they throw in, “Don’t you know?” and “I believe that!” It was the 80’s. It fit.
But isn’t that the point – that we show God’s love to others and they turn and show it to others and so on and so on. It’s the biggest show and tell in history and we GET to be a part of the story. We get to be ACTIVE participants in the Greatest Story Ever Told. Sharing God’s love all over the place – love is baked into the desserts we make for Katie’s Krops, love inspires us to write a note of encouragement to a friend in need, love leads us to pray for the sick, the hurting, and the broken, LOVE HAS COME to DWELL AMONG US.
Our Advent verse today is from Psalm 26 verses 2-3, “Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.” Your steadfast love is before my eyes and I walk in faithfulness to you. The Triune God’s steadfast love is before our eyes, how can we not walk in faithfulness? If we don’t show the world God’s great love for them, who will? If we don’t tell them about Jesus, our Emmanuel, who came down to Earth, the Great God of the Universe, a helpless baby, Jesus came and dwelt among us, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. He transforms everything and makes us new creations if we but put our hope and faith in him. My grandparent’s “just because” love is just a taste of our Savior’s love. The depth of God’s love is unfathomable and we rejoice in that when we take part in this Holy meal. “For God so loved the world…”