"I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."
John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. Anyone who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John starts right out with relating love to the relationship with the Holy Trinity. If we love Jesus, we will keep his commands. He doesn't say if we fear him, or if we want to go to heaven -- he said if we LOVE him. Love becomes the very foundational core of understanding the relationship into which we are invited and Jesus sets this up for us beautifully. He understands that for us to be lovers of God that we also need to be connected to him. How is that possible? The advocate or comforter -- the paraclete -- the Holy Spirit will come to help us and he will be with us forever!
The relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one of intimacy beyond anything that we can humanly imagine, and it is an intimacy which is defined by love. Jesus' declaration that we will not be left orphans is powerful. This relationship defined by love means that we are welcomed into the very family of God. We throw that term around rather lightly without taking time to allow the concept to truly sink in. We are invited into the family relationship found in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in him, and through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is in us. This is a mystery yes, but it also means that we are drawn into the relationship of love found in God. When we are his children, we love him and our lives will be changed and our desire will be to follow his commandments.
In the 1960's the song, "What the World Needs Now is Love" was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach and went on to receive popular acclaim. While the song was secular in nature and not related to God, the premise of the title remains true to this day. What we need is love! When Jesus was born into this world he was ushering in a new era of love -- one that the world had never before seen. The laws were not longer to be written on hearts of stone, but through inclusion in the relationship of love found in the Trinity the laws would simply pour from the hearts of God's children. Jesus came into the world to love us into his family.
Last Christmas was the first year that we celebrated without our girls. We missed all the family things that we normally do at that time of year. It had been customary for us in the past to welcome others into our home on Christmas day and help them to feel as if they were a part of our family. Our girls simply thought that this was a part of life. Last year we had only been in Ohio for a month and were living in temporary housing out on the campgrounds. For Christmas day the tables were turned on us and we were invited into the home of new friends. They opened the doors of their home for us, set places at the table for us and even presented us with gifts. We felt loved and welcomed to a new part of the country and while we missed our own children they made us feel very special that day.
That first Christmas is when Jesus came so that we would have the privilege of being loved into a new family. Today we may be called children of God! Emmanuel -- God with us. Yes, but we can also say, God in us! The world truly needs the love of God today and the only way they can experience that love is for his children to take it to the world. If we are trying to keep commands by simply following a list and not allowing ourselves the intimacy of a relationship with Christ then we are missing the whole gift of Christmas. Yes, the world needs "love sweet love," and Christ followers should be oozing with the love of God. The gift that came over 2000 years ago should continue to reach out and overflow to our world through you and me. Why? Because Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in him, and he is in us, and all of this because of love.
Lord, may your love flow through me today. I am so grateful for your love! Amen.