You probably think about Jesus’ birthplace: Bethlehem. You probably think of the star shining brightly over the manger. Maybe you think of the wise men.
Do you think about love? Because the birth of Jesus is ultimately about love.
Think about how many love songs have been written over the centuries. Thousands upon thousands. People declaring their deep, heartfelt love for one another in verse after verse, chorus after chorus, melody after melody. The Beatles proclaiming, “All You Need is Love.” Frank Sinatra crooning, “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”
And think about all the love stories that have been penned. You could fill an entire library with all the books and movies about love.
Have you ever wondered why people are constantly writing and singing and making movies about love?
It’s because the world is desperate for love.
Everyone wants to feel affection and care. We all want close, loving relationships with others. We crave unconditional love.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that has been broken by sin. Our relationships with others are marred by resentment and anger. We experience loneliness and disappointment.
This frustrating reality is often highlighted at Christmas. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and togetherness. Of happy reunions and wonderful meals together. Of glad celebrations. When Bing Crosby sang, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” he was painting a picture of the joy of celebrating Christmas together.
But it often doesn’t work out that way. For many people, Christmas is a painful reminder that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. That they don’t have the love that they so desperately desire.
However, amid all this frustration, there is good news. The birth of Christ and Christmas is also a reminder of God’s great love for us.
First John 4:8 tells us that, “God is love.” Ponder this glorious reality for a moment. At the core of God’s character is love. He is not a distant, cold-hearted, uninterested God. He’s not running the world from afar, apathetic toward us. He’s not absent or uncaring.
No, God is infinitely full of love for us. He cares for us intimately and delights in us. He is overflowing with joyous, wholehearted love.
His love for us is higher and wider and deeper than we could imagine.
Psalm 36:5 says, “Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”
In writing these words, David is trying to communicate the staggering, overwhelming, glorious nature of God’s love. The distance between the earth and the “heavens” (the sky, space, etc.) is incredibly great, miles upon miles. God’s love is even greater. It is higher than Mount Everest, deeper than the Mariana Trench, wider than the Grand Canyon. It exceeds all our attempts to measure it.
God’s love is so great and profound that we can’t fully comprehend it. It boggles the mind and surpasses our understanding.
But even though God’s love is greater than we can imagine, we can start to understand it when we look at Jesus. The birth of Jesus, along with His life and death, is a clear, concrete, beautiful revelation of God’s love.
John 3:16 famously says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
It’s one thing to say that you love someone. Talk is easy and cheap.
Anyone can say, “I love you.” It’s something else altogether to demonstrate that love by your actions. As the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” God proved the stunning depth of His love for us by sending Jesus to save us. He took action. The birth of Christ was God proving that He loves us. This verse tells us several things about God’s love for us.
He didn’t send an angel to save us from our sins. He sent His only Son to save us. God sent the person who was most precious to Him. He gave up the thing He valued most to rescue us. Jesus truly is the greatest gift ever given.
In the book Knowing God, J.I. Packer says, “The measure of love is how much it gives, and the measure of the love of God is the gift of His only Son to become human and to die for our sins, and so to become the one mediator who can bring us to God.”
Consider all that Jesus sacrificed to give us eternal life. He is the creator of all things, the One whom the angels worship. All things belong to Him and He is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. He sits on heaven’s throne, ruling over all things.
And yet He didn’t hold on to His glory. He became a finite, limited human. A human that could get sick and tired and worn down.
Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
Think about Jesus’ birthplace. The birth of Christ didn’t happen in a palatial castle. He didn’t have servants attending to His every need. He was born in a humble, lowly stable. The King of Kings was born surrounded by the stink of farm animals.
He lived a sinless life on our behalf, always obeying God perfectly. He walked among the lowly and broken, touching lepers, delivering the demon-possessed, and teaching the poor.
Then, in the greatest sacrifice of all, He died an excruciating, humiliating death on a Roman cross. The Son of God, the Author of Life, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Creator Himself, died for our sins. Greater love has never been seen.
In John 15:13, Jesus told His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Jesus' humble birth, sinless life, and sacrificial death are proof of God’s great love for us. Would Jesus sacrifice so much for those He didn’t love? Certainly not. God didn’t just say that He loved us. He proved it by sending Jesus as our Rescuer and Redeemer.
In some ways, you could say that Jesus is God’s love letter to us. He couldn’t be any clearer about how much He loves us.
Rooted in Pastor Adrian Rogers' book A Family Christmas Treasury, this Christmas Experience includes a collection of inspiring content, activities to bring your family together, and 31 daily devotions for each day of December. Feel free to pick and choose the days and activities that fit your schedule.
God loves you with an unbreakable love. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Not just likes you. Not just tolerates you. But loves you, deeply and fiercely. God’s love for you is not fickle. It doesn’t go up and down. His love is not like our love. It is steadfast, unwaning, and zealous. He loves you more than you could possibly imagine.
And get this. God loves you just as much on your bad days as He does on your good days. You don’t have to earn God’s love by your good behavior. God isn’t like Santa Claus. He’s not constantly weighing your good behavior against your bad behavior to see if you deserve His love. If you have believed in Jesus Christ, then you have the righteousness of Christ and can be fully secure in God’s love for you.
C.S. Lewis said, “But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.”
Some days you might feel like God loves you. Other days you might not sense His love. But the wonderful good news is that God’s love for you is not dependent on your feelings. God’s love is steady, immovable, always present. He loves you more than a mother loves a newborn child, more than an artist looking at his greatest creation. You are precious to Him.
If you ever find yourself doubting God’s love for you, look to Jesus. See the birth of Christ — the King of Kings lying in the manger, the immortal God born a frail, fragile baby. See Him living a perfect, sinless life on your behalf. See Him hanging on the cross, dying for your sins. See Him risen from the dead, your loving King who sits on heaven’s throne.
Are you struggling with loneliness? Are your relationships with others strained? Do you feel an ache in your heart, a longing to be loved? Let your heart be freshly encouraged by the deep love of God. Take joy in the fact that God loves you with an unshakeable, unbreakable, immovable, unrelenting love.
Charles Spurgeon said:
If a man could know that he was loved by all his fellowmen, if he could have it for certain that he was loved by all the angels, yet these were but so many drops, and all put together could not compare with the main ocean contained in the fact that God loved us.
Being secure in the love of God frees us to love one another. God’s deep love for us should motivate us to love others. The love of God isn’t meant to be hoarded. It’s meant to be shared with others. To overflow from our lives into others’ lives.
First John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Just as Jesus laid down his life for us, so we too must lay down our lives for others. We are called to lovingly serve others, just as Jesus lovingly served us.
This Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us aim to love and serve others. It’s easy to be self-centered during Christmas. To focus on what we want and what we’re getting. To become overly preoccupied with all the gifts and parties and decorating. To lose sight of the love of God, which is at the heart of Christmas.
In John 13:34-35 told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’”
When we love others, it shows the world that we are disciples of Christ. That there is something profoundly different about us. That we have experienced true love and it has fundamentally changed us.
The world is absolutely starving for love, and when we love one another, we point the world to the source of all love. We show the world that there really is a God and that he is full of love.
So let this Christmas be one of love. Let our hearts be filled with joy at God’s love for us and let us share that love with as many people as possible.
Listen to the Experience Christmas playlist as you and your family take part in these activities.
You can also purchase the Experience Christmas Worship Collection as a digital download or CD to listen offline.