“If I have faith to move mountains but don’t love I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
The second biggest day in history is here. Vacations are taken, flights are booked, the pork roast is in the oven and the family is gathering. The smell of the fireplace and sounds of laughter from the kitchen are vivid reminders of traditions and memories calling us back to the Hallmark setting.
Two stories were likely told just before bed last night - one that’s of myth and one that is not. One that is exaggerated and the other understated. One that is euphoric and the other eternal.
You may ask me why is this the second greatest day in history? Jesus was born. Jesus came to show the world the way and save the world from the sin that entangles, the sin of themselves and the sin of our selfish desires. I would say you are correct. But, for this sinner the greatest day in history is the day He died. While I am extremely thankful God was gracious enough to send me His one and only Son from the illuminating perfection and depths of majesty heaven secures into our fallen world of darkness and despair, I am completely inebriated by the fact that He let that wonderful piece of perfection die in my place. The tidal wave of love that poured over the cross and into my lap is immeasurable. It would be a tragedy if I did not recognize it, comprehend it and sing my song about it.
It should come as no surprise that two opportunities for me to extend a similar type of love happened a few hours before this big day. One would cost me a bit of fatherly currency and the other several thousand dollars in misplaced inventory. Couple that with Christmas traffic, a lack of supplier support this time of year, packages that didn’t deliver, a calendar full of events, and the yield is a day that needs something stronger than eggnog. Everything is amplified, and while my temperature was elevated, one whisper from the Holy Spirit reminded me of what was done and of what needed to be done.
The message from the swaddling manger is the same as the one from the old, rugged cross. The span of life in between illustrates a perfect example lived. Thirty three years of loving everyone more than Himself; 33 years preparing to wash the feet of those who would betray Him; 33 years of loving His Father in heaven so much to the point of laying His own life down for a sinful mortal like myself; 33 years of walking and talking and inviting sinners like me to sit and break bread at a table where the price of admission is well outside of my pay grade; 33 years of giving me a glimpse into the heart, manifested by His truth, that marshaled a a response which pierces the stillness of the air to this day, with the same answer, ‘You are the Christ; where else am I going to go?’ The birth, the road traveled, and the death all wrapped in one package and Jesus is His name.
Be encouraged brothers and sisters. This year’s new gadget may promise temporary happiness but only one present under the tree can separate the light from the dark and the sky from the ocean. Only one gift can beckon a call to the foot of the Cross saving you from the pressures and disappointments this life is sure to follow with on Sunday. God’s love is enormous, unchanging, never ending, outlasting, excessive, colossus, compendious. His love moves mountains and splits the sea and a mustard seed of faith is the only precursor.
Every day with our Lord and Savior is Christmas. Let the celebration begin and hopefully never end in your house.