Devotional by Stephen Estock

December 23, 2013

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

These words from a Christmas carol by Christina Rossetti capture the message of 1 John 4:9: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”

Before that night in Bethlehem, the love of God had existed, and his people had experienced it. Yet, the birth of Jesus was a wholly unique expression of the love of God, as the Second Person of the Eternal God “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). Love was born at Christmas.

John also explained why love came down at Christmas – to give life to a fallen world. Though many celebrate Christmas with hearts that are beating and lungs that are breathing, they have yet to know the life-giving love that came down at Christmas. Their lives are oppressed by the brokenness of mankind, and they remain separated from the Giver of life because of their sin. In love, God the Father made provision in order to release man from the bonds of sin and death. God the Son would offer the human nature he took upon himself at Christmas as the sacrifice required for mankind’s sin (1 John 4:11). In love, the God-man sets free all who put their trust in him.

As you celebrate the birth of Jesus, may the emotions of the season include an awe-filled wonder at the immeasurable love of God as he reaches out to his fallen creation. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).