December 6, 2013
A Love That Breathes, Bridges, and Brings Beauty
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:19, NIV)
Friend to Friend
The story of Christmas is familiar. Many of us can recite verses and sing choruses that recap the holy day without so much as a second thought. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt – so I wonder. I wonder and I search my heart.
When I sit and search, long enough to listen to God's still small voice, I grapple with the familiar and I groan for the fresh… and I wonder. Have I shopped, cleaned and baked away the season without being consumed by a fresh and compelling awe of my Savior? Have I decorated my home, but failed to focus my heart that is overflowing with arrogant, commercialized earthly distractions?
The story of Christmas – the story of the birth of Jesus – is the story of life, of hope, of freedom. The beautiful and mysterious intersection of humanity's depravity and Divinity's provision. A complex invasion of darkness by light. By love. By a love that breathes and bridges and brings beauty.
A LOVE THAT BREATHES
In the beginning, Love breathed life into the made-from-dust lungs of Adam. Life-giving love. The perfect and complete love of a holy, triune, eternal God who spoke words and created new galaxies – new wonders – new worshipers. All was made so that He might be glorified. We, however, made in His image, are different from all other creation in that we are made to know Him. Personally. To know Love. True, pure, white-as-snow love.
Then, stains of rebellion brought separation. Rebellion of God's plan – of His spoken word, of His will. Our wants and desires rose to rule – our own wills were done instead of God's: in the Garden… in my life… in yours.
Rebellion demands death (Romans 3:23); an eternal chasm separating man from God. Dark. Painful. Full of sting.
His love pursues with purifying power. This Love that came from heaven to earth, purposed to speak life to death through the incarnate Grace that was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a humble manger – in spite of our rebellion.
A LOVE THAT BRIDGES
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:16-18
A LOVE THAT BRINGS BEAUTY
Jesus came upon the no-vacancy scene in Bethlehem to annihilate death – so that we, who are hopeless without Him, could experience love, forgiveness and freedom. Full life. Abundant life. Beauty-from-ashes life.
Childhood gave way to manhood, and at the age of thirty, Jesus Christ made his love mission known.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:14-21
The story of Christmas is the story of Jesus. The story of captives being set free, of the blind gaining sight and of our stains of rebellion being washed white in his blood. The story of Christmas is the story of life.
Today, as we move and meander in the mundane, I pray that you would join me in being gripped by a fresh and compelling awe for this perfect Love that breathes, bridges and brings beauty to our brokenness.
Holy LORD, incarnate Grace, You are beyond amazing! My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for Your love. Help me to live in responsive awareness of Your grace.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Have you paused to spend time with God one-on-one yet today? This week? Prioritize prayer. Spend time in personal worship. Just you and Him. Then click to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic) and allow the songs that I've posted today lead you in further adoration and praise!
More from the Girlfriends
Are you struggling to trust that God's love can bring beauty to your life? Learn how God wants to bring you beyond your past heart-wounds and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It's also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen's website.
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how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.