Another Word…by Gus Keiser

December 19, 2016

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

                                                                                                                               1 John 4: 8-10

 A group of four to eight year old Sunday school students were asked by their teacher…”What does love mean?” As usually happens with children, their answers are often sprinkled with wisdom.  It was young Bobby who responded…”Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.  Bobby is truly a child wise beyond his years.

The love of God expresses itself in innumerable and immeasurable ways. God is love, the only true and pure essence of it.  Without question, the clearest expression of his love took place when he sent his Son to earth to be our redeemer.  This Christmas, I would urge you to take the time to love as God first loved you: sacrificially, humbly, faithfully and joyfully.  And as young Bobby said, as you gather with your friends and family this holiday, take time to push aside the hustle and the bustle of the season to listen just bit closer.  For the greatest gift ever given wasn’t one that showed up wrapped in fancy paper with a big bow under a beautifully lighted and decorated tree.  It was the one that breathed its first breath in a bed of straw in a barn full of animals.  For it was as the angels pronounced to that group of lowly shepherds…”I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior…yes, the Messiah, the Lord…has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

 Most of us are familiar with First Corinthians 13, Paul’s “love chapter. Some time ago, I came across a Christmas rendition of that chapter.  As I share it with you here, hopefully it will provide a bit of insight into how we can love as God loves, especially at Christmastime.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just a decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on my love for Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

My prayer for all of you this Christmas is that the gift of God’s love will be the one that outlasts all the others and that it will bring for you in the coming year his peace, his power and his presence for each of your days.

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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