"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
You are loved - period - end of discussion. Whether you like it or not God loves you unconditionally with no hesitation. He loves you with an intensity unmatched to the deepest love you have ever felt. You are his creation! He gave you life with a predestined plan of greatness and purpose and topped it all off with an option - free will. Free will to decide if you choose to accept his love by accepting the most amazing gift - eternal life by believing he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to wipe away the sin this world brings to our lives.
Christmas is a time to celebrate this love and this gift. Providing the way for all of us to join him in eternity, God fulfilled the many prophecies through out the Old Testament by sending himself to this world in the humblest of forms - a baby named Jesus Christ. This one act of love was meant for each and every one of us. Providing us an example to follow of what true love encompasses - opening our hearts to everyone around us no matter their circumstances and letting this love govern our actions. If only everyone could follow this example how different this world would be!
Unfortunately, the jolly man in the red suit seems to have taken precedence over the true meaning of Christmas and turned it into an opportunity for everyone to bury themselves in debt trying to buy the perfect gift. I am just as guilty as everyone of falling into this trap. I remember the Christmas we celebrated with Zach after he was diagnosed - I was obsessed with finding the perfect gifts especially for Zach. Desperately wanting to make as many smiles as I could and all the while fighting a fear in my heart what the next Christmas could bring. What I found was of course he enjoyed the gifts, but the thing that meant the most to him was time spent with those he loved. I look now at the "things" we purchased and know they may have brought momentary happiness, but the gift of giving ourselves to each other was the gift that brought the most joy.
As you face this Christmas season, remember to be generous in the best gift of all - your love. Show love to those that mean the most to you AND to those who may not mean so much (like the driver that cuts you off or the doctor who forgets to call). It will change your heart and add much joy to your day!
Ending with scriptures that remind us LOVE is the answer.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:34-35
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." - Romans 12:9-10
"Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble." - 1 John 2:10
"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." - 1 Peter 1:22
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." - 1 John 4: 7-8
"Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ' Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!