December 25

Love is Born

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

The phrase “Love is born tonight” is the name of a song (probably several, actually) and is part of many another song about the birth of our Lord. It’s a tender thought, and depending on how you look at it, it’s either sentimental and unreal, or profound and breathtaking.

To read it as love being born, as in created, is of course a complete error. As lovely as the image of a newborn surrounded by cute animals, otherworldly lighting and heavenly choirs might be, love had been around a long time before Jesus’ birth. It was found all throughout the Old Testament—in the creation, God’s covering of Adam and Eve’s sin, the promise of a Messiah, the rescue of Israel in the Exodus, the story of Ruth, and God’s continual preservation of the Messianic line. Then there are the two great commandments, both of which feature love: love of our Lord, and of our neighbor as ourselves.

Love isn’t a concept or an idea or a feeling. It’s a Person, Jesus Christ. Love came to earth, put on fleshly clothing, lived among people for a season, and then took on the sins of us all so that we could be forgiven and have fellowship with the Father.

Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That means that the greatest demonstration of love ever made was Jesus dying for us. Love was seen most clearly at the end of Jesus’ natural life, not at the beginning. But since He was born to die (see yesterday’s devotional), His birth and death are connected as no other human being’s.

Yet God’s word says that God is love, and that the Word became flesh. So love was born, in that sense, 2000+ years ago. Love put on humanity, penetrated our world, and then lived a life and died a death that forever exemplified what it looks like in action. Love had been around our world since God created it, but had never been born until this holy moment.

It overwhelms our understanding to put all this together. Love being born isn’t a sweet sentiment, or an ethereal spiritual mystery. God is love. He took on flesh, coming as a baby. Then He showed us what love looked like. He still does, in His word and by His Spirit.

Let’s treasure the thought: Two millennia ago, in a despised outpost of a conquered land, in the least comfortable of circumstances, love was born. Hallelujah!

Prayer: Thank You! And I welcome You again in my life and heart!

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