Emmanuel = Love

Merry Christmas! As we move into Advent and Christmas, we celebrate the unfathomable mystery of Emmanuel, God with us, in Jesus Christ.
CHRISTMAS SHOWS GOD’S LOVE
To those who will listen, creation speaks of God’s power and creativity. Romans 1:20 (ESV), “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” An awe-inspiring starry sky, a powerful waterfall, a living cell performing its metabolic dance —these things tell us to seek their maker. This is exactly what civilizations around the world have done throughout human history.
But who is the maker? What is the maker like? What is our relationship to the maker? That is where Jesus comes into the picture. Jesus, the child whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day, “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…” (Hebrews 1:3)
This is Good News beyond the wildest hopes of humanity as they seek God on their own. People who believe in one God typically imagine God as an authority figure who must be satisfied (or manipulated) or a disinterested creator who built a toy universe and now lets it play out just to see what will happen (if he even cares).
The idea of God being most accurately represented by a baby boy born to a poor girl and being laid in a feed trough because his family was travelling when he was born is nearly unthinkable. To use a well-worn phrase, it rocks our world. What does this mean that creator of our unfathomable universe presents himself to us as a newborn child?
It means Love.
CHRISTMAS SHOWS GOD’S LOVE FOR US
Our creator desires so much to be known to us — to be in relationship with us — that he enters our world in our way, an infant. Surely this is, to use another well-worn phrase, mind-blowing.
Consider what this means for you. For God so loved YOU that he sent his only son… You are the object of radical, unstoppable love from God. You meet God when you meet Jesus. Again, this is Good News beyond hope because when we look at the life of Jesus, we see a man who was truthful and trustable, desired the best for every person he met and, when push came to shove, was willing to die in our place.
In Jesus, from the newborn babe in the manger to the travelling rabbi to the man on the cross dying a criminal’s death, we see that the core of the God who created the universe is Love.
In this broken world, the news that God’s heart is a heart of Love is the best news that we could hope for. Gaze at the baby in the manger and see the creator of the universe wrapped in swaddling clothes. Why on earth would he do that?
The answer is Love for us.
WE LOVE OTHERS BECAUSE GOD FIRST LOVED US
To contemplate the mystery of Emmanuel, God with us in Jesus Christ, without response is unthinkable. How can one possibly consider what God has done to be known by us and to reconcile us to himself and not be changed? Christmas is a celebration of God’s sacrificial love. Our best response to the inconceivable gift of the baby Jesus who grew to be Christ on the cross and the risen Savior is to reflect his character to the rest of the world.
Our best response is Love for others.
Celebrate Christmas by practicing love!