“Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.”
Adolphe-Charles Adam, composer of O Holy Night (1803-1856)
We were at a concert this month and one of the songs performed was O Holy Night. This used to be one of my favorite Christmas carols and I’ve sung it myself quite a few times in church or at various Christmas programs while growing up. However, this time, when I heard the words, God revealed to me a much deeper meaning than I had ever noticed before.
Maybe it was because we’ve been observing Advent for the first time as a family, but I’ve been focused on the words “hope, peace, joy, and love.” I’ve also been studying the gospels for the past two years, wanting to get to know Jesus and how He lived while He walked the earth for 33 years.
God chose to remind me of an important lesson when I heard the above stanza. Jesus came to this earth as love. The God I serve is the best example of LOVE we have. He doesn’t just show love….He IS Love. God can’t sin. When we become His children and choose to live under His law, His authority, those boundaries are given because of His great love for His people. They aren’t given as punishment or to keep us from having fun – they are given to protect us and help us love those around us, modeling Jesus’ love for us and others.
He also is PEACE. When God is present, He isn’t stirring up problems. He isn’t gossiping, backbiting, complaining, grumbling, or irritable. When God shows up, chaos leaves. When God is present, He brings with Him peace that is indescribable, but a peace that once you’ve experienced it, you want it to stay. When that peace is absent, it isn’t because God is mad at us and punishing us. It’s because He loves us and wants to warn us of danger if we keep making a bad choice or He wants us to turn back to loving Him with our whole heart.
God’s love is eternal. He loved us before we were formed in our mother’s womb and His love is so great that He made a way for us to spend eternity in Heaven with Him if we choose to accept His gift, His Son.
God’s love is unconditional and sacrificial. God loves us so much He chose to send His Son to earth to suffer death on a cross so we could have a real relationship with Him in Heaven when we die. However, it’s more than a “get out of jail free card.” He wants to give us eternal life, but He also wants to enjoy a relationship with us while we’re still alive on earth. Even if you were the only person alive, God would have sent His Son to die on the cross…just for you. That’s how great His love is for each of us.
While we celebrate Christmas today, I want to take a minute to remember why I celebrate the birth of a little baby in a manger. A baby who grew into a man who not only loved me so much to die a horrible death on the cross to pay for my sins, but loved me so much He modeled how He wants me to love others while I live on this earth.
The God I serve is very much alive. I’m so glad I serve a God whose “law is love and gospel is peace.”
Merry Christmas from my house to yours…If you’re looking for that kind of love or peace and don’t know how to become a member of God’s family, feel free to email me. I would love to share with you the simple steps to find that love and peace for yourself.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014