I have always been obsessed with Christmas. The past few years especially, I’ve been consumed by all things festive. There’s a special feel to Christmas, a certain je ne sais quoi that can only ever be felt at this time of year. It’s sentimentality, it’s nostalgia.
I suppose that’s really the biggest one of all, isn’t it? Love. My favourite part of Love Actually is not, in fact, Emma Thompson making her child’s nativity costume – “there was more than one lobster at the birth of Jesus?” – but rather the very beginning; the opening monologue. The arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, Hugh Grant proclaiming over the top of families and friends reuniting for Christmas that despite the gloomy, disastrous state of our world, love is all around us.
Perhaps that specific part of the film has been made all the more special to me this year, on account of having my own airport reunion. Because this year has been the first year I’ve ever really understood – it’s not about gifts. It’s not about food, or mulled wine. It’s about love. And being loved.
At our Christingle candlelight service last night, our minister preached on the love of God. How God loved this world, and us, so much that he sent His Son to earth.
God knew that our world, as it was, was filled with sin. It needed a saviour, a saviour sent out of love – the most powerful force of all. And so, God loved the world in such a way – He sent His Son not only to be born, and to teach us, and live on earth as a human, but ultimately to die. To take on all the sins of mankind, to the cross, and die for us – to pay the ultimate price for sin so that we don’t have to. And through Jesus, we can now know God. We can have a relationship with Him, as we were created to do. God’s perfect plan, all worked out through Jesus. Through that little, tiny baby, born in a stable, in Bethlehem.
And so, it’s not just about love, but God’s love.
There’s a cracking quote by Ann Voskamp that sums it all up so perfectly:
“So, God throws open the door of this world—and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable being imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you. What religion ever had a god that wanted such intimacy with us that He came with such vulnerability to us? What God ever came so tender we could touch Him? So fragile that we could break Him? So vulnerable that His bare, beating heart could be hurt? Only the One who loves you to death.”
This is why it’s so important we remember Christ at Christmas. Because without Him, it doesn’t mean anything. It has no purpose. Our love will never be as pure and as powerful as God’s.
I pray you are convicted and challenged by this, this Christmas. Bring your holiday celebrations back to where they should be. And as you remember that little baby, who grew into a young man and died on a cross for your sins, so that you may know and love God, may you go there with Him.
Bless you all, and a Merry Christmas from me and mine, to you and yours.
Kate (Tales of Faith) – 25/12/18