Because Jesus Came Down, Love Will Never Fail

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Don’t you just love the Christmas movies where love prevails? When a cold heart is melted? When a person’s life is changed for the better?

Sometimes all a person needs is one person in the world who cares. In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, one little girl wormed her way into The Grinch’s heart. He hated Christmas and all the Whos down in Whoville who celebrated it. Christmas triggered a bad memory from his childhood when he was bullied and not accepted for who he was. But little Cindy Lou didn’t want him to be left out, and no matter how mean The Grinch was to her, she kept showing him she cared until finally the walls around his heart came tumbling down and his heart grew three sizes bigger. And peace was restored in Whoville.

Then there’s Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. He tried to take the warmth of love out of Christmas. He wanted it to be about him and his honor, not about love and giving. And again a little child leads, because along comes little Lucy Miller whose heart brims over with love. She hugs Jack Frost, and his cold heart melts and he becomes a better person. And peace was restored at the North Pole.

Even though some Christmas movies are make-believe and don’t speak of how love began with Jesus, there can still be an important message of love in them for our real world. Love changes things. One loving person can make an impact on others.

Sometimes we can get discouraged by all the hate, greed, and violence in this world, but love changes hearts, people, and circumstances. Because love came down at Christmas, peace is possible however impossible it seems.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, tragedy both in the nation and in his family shook him to the core of his being. A raging Civil War, a son crippled from war wounds, and his dear wife’s tragic death sunk him into a deep depression. The joyous ringing of Christmas bells seemed to mock his sadness. Hate is so strong. Where is the peace?

And in despair I bowed my head ;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said ;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Don’t we sometimes feel the same way when troubles and losses abound and when we look at everything that is happening in the world around us?

But God poured His love in, and hope revived in the heart of Longfellow. In the final stanza, he penned:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead ; nor doth He sleep !
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Even though it may not seem so, love will prevail. Hope is still alive, because love came down at Christmas. Because Jesus came, love is possible in a world of hate, greed, and violence. Love can melt hardened hearts, change lives, and pour healing and peace into broken hearts and a broken world. Love that Jesus brought, love that can never be taken away, love that will be victorious forever.

Love Came Down
by Kim Walker-Smith

Love came down
Hope was found
A star lit the sky
The angels cried glory
Light broke through
The darkest night
Hope is alive
Hope is alive
Cause love came down
Love came down

May God pour into our hearts
His love, hope, and peace,
and may we pour it
out to others!

Awakening a Childish Wonder to the Lowly Birth of Jesus

Jesus came

We lay on our backs on the lawn in the stillness of the night. Stars winked and dazzled us as my big brother said, “Just wait and watch…”

“There! Did you see it?” he whispered, as if he would spoil the awe of it if he talked too loud.

“Yes! Yes! I saw it! Cool!” I gazed in wonder, waiting for another one.

That was decades ago. When my heart still held childish wonder and delight. Where has it gone? That cause for admiration or astonishment. That emotion of excitement at something new and remarkable.

That’s what I want in this Advent season. I want a renewal of wonder at the birth of Jesus. An excitement at this Gift as if I opened it for the first time. I want to unwrap the deeper layers of it. Not the surface of it with a hollow and empty celebration. I don’t want my heart to be passively content. I want to get excited about the Unspeakable Gift of Jesus coming down to us. I want to be amazed, to be still with awe, to awaken to the wonder of it all.

“The natural gift of wonder God gave us
as children was meant to be kept alive.
Instead we let wonder go to sleep.
We entered the typical dream state of most humans.

Why else does Jesus tell us today,
‘Stay awake!’…Advent says,
‘Wake up and realize the gifts
of love you have received.’”
(Rev. Alfred McBride, O. Praem., The Priest, Oct. ‘87, p.26)

Have we lost that gift of wonder at something so miraculous? Perhaps somewhere along the way, the harsh realities of life have snuffed it out? Has the wondrous miracle of Jesus’ birth become an ordinary yearly event? Are we too busy to ponder it prayerfully in our hearts?

I know we can never fully understand it on this earth, but I’m afraid my heart has become passive to delving deeper into the wonder of God coming down as Man. God was willing to come down and be born in human form, to suffer as a human the excruciating death of the cross for us. To die and rise again so we could be free forever from the punishment due to our sins.

That same Almighty God who has the power to create and hold those stars in the skies came down off His throne. That same God who gave a bright star to guide the wise men to Jesus the Savior humbled Himself to live among the lowly. He came down, down, down… Down to the depths of humanity. Not to be born in a fancy palace, but in a lowly stable, probably stinking from manure. To cry from hunger or pain as other babies do.

What king would ever come down to the level of suffering with the poor? This King would! Now that is great love! Unmatchable, unconditional, unfathomable love!

“For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
[His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favor],
that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor,
so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed).”
2 Corinthians 8:9 AMP

Though He was God,
He did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up His divine privileges;
He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
He humbled Himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Phillipians 2:6-8 NLT

“But when the right time came, God sent
His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.
God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
so that He could adopt us as His very own children.”
Galatians 4:4-5 NLT

I know that in the midst of darkness and suffering, it’s hard to hang onto this hope. But let’s remember it’s the hopeless He has come for. Let’s try to retrieve our childish wonder for such an unimaginable miracle. May we recognize more clearly His astonishing favor for us. May our jaws drop in wonder at the boundless love He has for people filled with the filth of sin. For the broken souls who need His powerful cleansing, healing, and enlightening.

A Child's Trust

“When Love Came Down to Earth”
by Stuart Townend
sung by Kristyn Getty, Margaret Becker, Joanne Hogg

“When love came down to earth
And made His home with men
The hopeless found a hope
The sinner found a friend
Not to the powerful
But to the poor He came
And humble hungry hearts
Were satisfied again”

Dearest Lord Jesus, please give us and renew in us
a childish wonder at Your humble birth.
Thank You for loving us so deeply!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

Love Came Down at Christmas

lovecamedown

What would our world be like if Jesus never came down to take on our human form and be born in a manger? Darkness unimaginable. Violence inconceivable. Despair immeasurable. No love. No hope. No peace.

Some days our hearts may be cloaked in darkness and despair, but I can’t even imagine how much worse it would be if Jesus and His love didn’t come down to shine rays of hope into a dark world and despairing hearts.

“Now thanks be to God for His Gift,
[precious] beyond telling
[His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]!”
2 Corinthians 9:15 AMP

Jesusgift

From the mouths of babes… I just had to share this letter written by one of my precious grand-daughters to her parents. It really touches my heart. In the midst of the sadness and turmoil in this world, love and hope still shine.

Amaya's-Letter

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Some past posts:

Love Prevails and Pours Peace Into a Broken World

The Message of Hope Came First to Despised Shepherds

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“The Night Before Christmas” by Brandon Heath

“I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns

Christmas

A Renewal Prayer

“Lord, We are Your people, the sheep of Your flock.
Heal the sheep who are wounded,
Touch the sheep who are in pain,
Clean the sheep who are soiled,
Warm the lambs who are cold.
Help us to know the Father’s love
through Jesus the Shepherd and through His Spirit.
Help us to lift up that love,
and show it all over this land.
Help us to build love on justice and justice on love.
Help us to believe mightily, hope joyfully, love Divinely.
Renew us that we may renew the face of the earth.
Amen”

Christmas-wishes

This is the last blog post for this year
but you will remain in my thoughts and prayers.
I hope to come back early in January!

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Linking up with Holley, Jennifer, and Kelly.