His mother and father gazed in wonder at this newborn babe that would change the world.
He would cut history in two.
He would conquer kingdoms and destroy the power of death.
You see, God loved the lost world. He wanted to rescue His fallen creation.
He was filled with compassion for His enemies.
So, He made a plan.
Getting Everything Ready
For centuries, the Lord revealed His plan in little snippets, through His prophets who were sometimes a little strange. He gave clues and signs so that His beloved nation of Israel would look for their Messiah with hope and expectation.
God’s plan involved an immaculate conception, a virgin birth, a visit from an angel, a powerful dream, and a young couple who travel to Bethlehem to pay taxes in order to fulfill Scriptural prophecies.
God’s plan would involve angels singing to shepherds working the night shift, wise men following a star from the Far East to worship a tiny King, and a flight to Egypt to save the baby’s life.
Getting it Right
With Rome occupying Israel, the people were desperate for God to rescue them, to send their Messiah. And, so God the Father sent His Only Begotten Son to a world that had broken His heart.
Angels Gaze in Wonder
Can you imagine all the drama and excitement in Heaven when the Worshipped One laid aside His glory and put on human flesh?
“What are you doing?” they must have wondered, but not dared to say aloud.
“Your splendor, your majesty, you glory!” they groaned as the Chosen One took on human flesh. But when they saw their King and Master born as a baby, they could only sing and rejoice. They sang to shepherds with joy in their hearts. They sang to the newborn King with adoration.
The Right Visitors
Now, I don’t know about you, but His guest list confuses me. Dirty smelly shepherds? Oh, please, don’t tell me you think that a bunch of men out in a field in the middle of the night taking care of sheep weren’t dirty and smelly?
Wise men from the Far East? Did they even worship the True God? Were they pagans? We don’t know. We simply know that God wanted them at the welcome reception and they came.
Herod wanted to be at the welcome reception, but our Heavenly Father kept Herod away. His motives were evil, to kill the King of the Jews. But, Jesus was protected by His Heavenly Father and his earthly father.
I don’t always understand how and why God does what He does. Okay, okay, I hardly ever fully understand what God does. His ways and thoughts are way beyond mine.
Experiencing God’s Love Today
Many of us are hurting this Christmas. We want to experience God’s love, but He feels so distant. We don’t understand what He is doing in our lives. Maybe, we have sinned. Our foolish choices have consequences that are painful.
I have Good News for you! God loves you! Jesus cares about you! He offers forgiveness and a brand new start. That’s what Christmas is all about. You can experience God’s love today.
We can experience God’s love alone, with our families, or with our church families. Often, God shows love to us through other people, especially those who are sensitive to His voice.
To Experience God’s Love, Hang your Stocking
In the same way, we must come to God with faith that He is here and He wants to bless us. We must want His forgiveness to receive it. If we are so busy justifying our sin or explaining away our bad behavior, we will never repent and believe.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)
To Experience God’s Love, Imitate Jesus’ Mother
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” (Luke 2:19 NIV).
We can be so busy that we totally miss God. Yes, it’s true. We can even be busy serving Him by singing in the choir, passing out food in a soup kitchen, or mentoring younger believers. Do you stop and notice all the blessings in your life? Do you notice when God answers your prayers? Do you remember all that God has done in the past for you and your loved ones?
This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise because my bedroom window faces east. Often I just give a quick glance to the beauty and a smile spreads across my face. But, this morning, I stopped and watched it. I took time out of my busy life to enjoy something so lovely from God’s hand. I thanked God for a bedroom window that faces east and for creating a beautiful world. I meditated on His faithfulness.
I stopped to treasure a sunrise and ponder it in my heart.
If you want to experience more of God’s love, you must stop and treasure the things God does (in your life) and says (in His Word). Ponder them too. Think about them. Meditate on them. God is showing love to you each day, His faithfulness is new every morning. Don’t miss it because you are too busy.
To Experience God’s Love, Taste It
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing,” (Psalm 34:8-10 NIV).
If I had never walked over to the kitchen island, cut a piece of pie, and taken a bite, I would never have tasted its tangy goodness.
Often, we don’t place ourselves in position to experience God’s love. It’s really so simple: read your Bible every day, go to church, listen to worship music when you drive, talk about God with Christian friends, attend your weekly Bible study, and ask Christian friends to pray for you when you have a need.
You see, if we fill our life with other things, it’s like me wanting a piece of Key Lime pie but never walking into the kitchen. I can’t taste the pie if I stay in the family room. I need to position myself to receive God’s love. His Word, His people, His praise, His ways—that’s where I want to be so I can taste and see that the Lord is good.
To Experience God’s Love, Sing It
I love Christmas carols. They are so lovely, so packed with theology, so filled with joy! At Christmas, I love to sing about the baby Jesus who was born of the Virgin Mary, who died lived a perfect life, who died for my sins, who rose and conquered death. I love to sing to Jesus too! I love to tell Him how wonderful He is!
Singing to God unleashes emotions. I don’t understand it, but I experience every time I worship Him, especially when I am worshipping with other believers. His love is amazing.
This Christmas I pray you would experience God’s Love every minute of every day for the rest of your life!
My heart is filled with love for you!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)