1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
The revelation of God’s nature came in the incarnation of his son, Jesus Christ. The birth of the Savior exposed God’s love in a way in which humanity had never before understood love. That the Creator would empty himself and become a vulnerable human in an effort to reach out to his creation is almost incomprehensible. His desire is for us to know him and in knowing him to experience his nature — holy love.
Augustine reminds us, “Love is from God, as have declared those whom he has made not only his great lovers but also his great preachers.” (On the Gift of Perseverance 21.56) It is in experiencing the deep love of the Christ-child that we are united with him. We become lovers of God and this cannot be contained. That love must overflow to others. It is that overflow which becomes our sermon. True preaching can only come from the overabundance of knowing and loving God.
I’ve been asked on numerous occasions to help people know how to share Christ with others. I’m grateful for this desire on the part of people but at the same time it seems as if this Scripture may be telling us that the secret to sharing the good news about Christ with others is a more intimate relationship with Christ, himself.
I’m afraid that far too often we have been trapped by “religion” which has kept us from “relationship.” First and foremost we are called into a deep relationship with that babe that was born so long ago in Bethlehem. His birth signaled a new era when we were to be welcomed in and adopted as members of the family — God’s family.
Just as families around the world are celebrating Christmas this day and enjoying the warmth and fellowship of sharing together, so our heavenly Father gathers us into his fellowship. He lavishes his gift of love on us and as it naturally spills over it reaches out to others. If it’s not naturally spilling out of you, maybe you need to get closer to him and relax in his love today. Only his great lovers will be his great preachers.
Lord, thank you for your great love which spills out on us today. Amen.
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