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for God so loved

And there were sheep-herders living in the fields just outside Bethlehem, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. The glory of the Lord shone around them.

~ New Testament Gospel of Luke 2.8-9 (paraphrased)

12/24 is the fourth Sunday of Advent. The traditional theme is love. In our culture, love is widely misunderstood. Perhaps in every culture individuals want love to fulfill or complete them; somehow supply what’s missing in their lives. Such thinking isn’t entirely wrong. Love is fulfilling. It does complete us.

Love, however, is something different in the Bible. It is giving. In fact, godly love is about emptying oneself for the benefit of others. The apostle Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.

Jesus made Himself

Jesus became a

Jesus didn’t seek His own

That’s what the Bible means by love. Such love is not of this world. The Bible claims giving—emptying—sacrificial love was what prompted God the Father to give His Son.

“For God so loved the world that He gave…” the
apostle John wrote.

Make no mistake. God gave to get. Because God the Father gave His Son, millions—billions of repentant sinners now belong in God’s kingdom, in fact they’ll
have a place in the Father’s own house! Still, the gift, the emptying, giving it all—even one’s very life—for the benefit of others; that is biblical love. That is godly love.

You are loved. The Designer and Creator and Sustainer and Ruler of the universe loves you so much He gave His Son. And, “to all who receive Christ, to those who believe in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God.”

That’s godly love, authentic love. That’s what Christmas celebrates. Celebrate that this Christmas. ~

Dan Nygaard