Love - Rev. Mark Taylor

Love is a funny thing. The problem is, the word “love” can have so many different meanings depending on the context. I love good coffee. I love my dog. I love my children. I love my wife. I love God. There are 5 examples of things I love, but in completely different ways.

Even a cursory glance at a dictionary will reveal the multitude of different meanings this word has. I find it interesting, though, that the word “love” is most often thought of as a feeling or an emotion. I don’t think that quite does it justice. Sure, maybe my love for coffee could fall in that category, but that’s about it.

I would like to suggest that real love isn’t a warm fuzzy feeling, it’s not romance or affection; love is action. Love is getting up with an upset child in the middle of the night, as long as it takes, as many nights as it takes. Love is not thinking about oneself, but rather the needs of others. Love is heeding God’s call on one’s life; living according to God’s priorities, regardless of how that might line up with one’s own desires.

So what does love mean for us this Christmas? Everything. Love is what Christmas is all about. Love is the reason we celebrate. That’s what happened on the first Christmas: God gave us love through the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. God loved humanity, so God acted and made a way for us to experience new life, filled with hope. That action was God’s love for all of humanity. God didn’t love humanity so much that God had warm fuzzy feelings. No, God loved humanity so much that God sent God’s own son to live amongst us. That is love.

The cool thing about love is that it changes us. If we allow it to, God’s love takes root in our lives and changes the way we act, think, and interact with one another. The gift of God’s love is not like any other gift under the Christmas tree. It’s a gift that is internalized and inspires us to live a life forever changed by God. Let’s give a little love this Christmas. Not just in the form of finding the perfect gift to place under the tree, but in action. Let’s spread love with those around us, that they, too, might be changed by the love of God.

I John 4:7-11 - New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 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.

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