Love is the highest virtue. It is the prize for which we live and run. It is the most powerful reflection of God’s nature. And every act of power that God performs is a demonstration of his love.
During Advent at Christmas we remember God's beautifully extravagant, gritty and costly expression of love - the incarnation - a moment when God was pleased to physically dwell with humanity through his promised one - Jesus the Christ.
Love is tangible – it’s obvious and active – it’s not just a value that is hidden somewhere inside of us. It comes out in action – it can’t be passive. Saint John writes that when we see a brother or sister in need and do not act then the love of God the Father is not in us (1 John 3:17 see also James 2:15).
God's love is not passive, he demonstrated his love towards us through Christ - it is one of the wonders of the Christmas story.
As people seeking to live in the way of Christ, we too are called to live a life of love - one that is aware of and responds in some way to the needs of others around us. Love is gritty, costly and practical - if we stop demonstrating love then it reveals at some point we stopped connecting with the heart of God. We’ve distanced ourselves in some way from His Powerful Love.
It might be that life got busy, or that it became difficult, maybe we got disappointed, discouraged or burnt out. Maybe we’ve never really opened ourselves to the love of God in a way that has left us changed. Whatever the reason – we need to reconnect with the powerful love of God expressed towards us in Christ Jesus.
Christmas is a wonderful time to remind ourselves of this - "For God so loved the world that he gave..."
Let's get practical - how can we do that?
Notice and respond to needs around you – I know you would think that maybe we’d start with the God part and we’ll get to that – but there is nothing more powerful at re-connecting us with the heart of God than engaging with the brokenness of others.
Ask God to reveal His love to you afresh – Saint Paul talks about how we need the power of God to enable us to grasp and experience the love of God (Ephesians 3:14 – 21).
Be vulnerable with God and others – don’t hide the pain and disappointment that may be under the surface that has caused your heart to close off to others. Let God into it, to heal. Let others in too. The Christmas story is a story of deep vulnerability on God's part.
Start somewhere, do something – it doesn’t matter if it seems little or insignificant – do something, start somewhere and let God breathe on it.
Call out for more of God’s power and take risks to show it – God wants to show His Kingdom to others – He gives us His power to do that and we need to step out to see His power show up more fully.