Heart Choices: 2015-12-20 -->

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One Word Advent: Love

Today I'm linking up for One Word Advent with Bonnie of Faith Barista. Our writing prompt for this week is LOVE.

Oh that word love! As a young woman, my mother told me I was in love with love. You know, the romance; flowers, soft music, candlelit dinners. It was the ideal I had in my head. But life happens and love didn't always live up to that vision.  It became easy to cover my heart to shield it from any possible further pain. 

But God's love is different.  Maybe you know the verse from 1 Corinthians 13 as love is described. 

Love is patient. Love is kind. 

On this morning of Christmas Eve, I'm reminded of God's perfect love. As I read the familiar story of Jesus' birth from Luke 2, I don't want to gloss over a few very important facts. 

  • Luke 2:7 tells us that Mary gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger as there was no lodging available.
  • The very next verse speaks of shepherds. I recently read a post on Randy Alcorn's blog about the status of shepherds at the time of Jesus' birth. They were not high on the social register by any means. 
  • Why wouldn't the angels have announced the birth of Jesus first to the religious leaders of that day? Or maybe to some important people at least?
I encourage you to read the account from Luke 2:8-20 (NIV):

 "And there were shepherd living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause you great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what they had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." 

The birth of Jesus was first announced to lowly shepherds. 

I think of how Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.  He revealed that He was the living water. At that time, she would have been at the bottom rung of 'important' in the eyes of the world. But Jesus chose to reveal Himself to her.

Maybe it's been hard for you to give and receive love. Maybe you don't feel very important in the eyes of man.

I work as a preschool teacher so I get to work with children every day. Most of them have never yet been scarred  and hurt by loved ones. I pray they never will. So often a little child will look at me and out of the blue say, "I love you Miss Debbie." I am humbled when this happens.

But I am even more humbled that Jesus loves me. He was born in a lowly manger. The Bible tells me He came to save me.

John 3:16-17 (NLT) says:

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son not to judge the world but to save the world through Him."

Now I don't know about you but to me ...that is LOVE.

Gifts are usually exchanged on Christmas. But there is a free gift that God offers to you and to me. And His name is JESUS. You don't need to earn it. You don't need to be someone 'important' to receive it. Will you finally open up your heart and receive His love?

Blessings and love,

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