“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” Through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we are able to develop a truly meaningful and beautiful understanding of love. However, for us individuals, the word love itself is not something that can be defined easily, or something to which we can give a universal meaning to, as it is different for each person. Nevertheless, if I was to ask for an example of what is love, among the most common answers, one of the least mentioned example will be the love of our God. During this season of advent what I want to share with you is the wonderful significance of the love of Jesus and what he teaches us about love.
The ultimate act of love is demonstrated to us by the birth and life of Jesus. ““For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). The solemn reason for the birth of Jesus was to save and to set each and every one of us free from our sins. He wasn’t born into a life of luxury and neither did he live a life full of luxury. Jesus faced many trials, rejections and sufferings for us and lived a selfless life fully committed to us, so that we will be saved through him. He associated with all sorts of people, he didn’t discriminate, judge, or condemn them, and instead he reached out to everyone. His love for us is both precious and priceless and it is questionable how often we acknowledge and appreciate it.
One of my favourite teachings about love is from Matthew 5:43-48, which says ‘“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. In the New Testament Jesus explains to us and gives us many references about the importance of love. He teaches us to be different from others, and tells us to love everyone, just as he loves us. In John 13:35, he reminds us by having love for one another, we are showing others, we are his disciples.
Jesus is the light from heaven given to us to help us through our losses, sufferings and troubles, and “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). His birth is a reminder to us that we are not alone and how much love our God has for us. Let us all acknowledge this during this advent period.
Lastly, as we are preparing to receive the gift of Christ this Christmas, let us remember what he has told us about love and apply it in our lives. Our Christ represents love, and we cannot receive him or know him with hatred in our heart. So pray to him to heal the wounds in your heart, to teach you to love others like the way he does and to forgive those who have hurt you as well as for those who you hurt to forgive you. Remember, hatred will only lead to destruction. Whereas love conquers all. We are all followers of Christ, and we should lead a good example, so others will follow too.
God our father, you showed us how to love one another and grow in your faith. Let your love manifest in our daily life in all that we do. In Jesus name amen.