Spiritual Practices

The Love of Advent

Scripture for this week:

December 23      Zephaniah 3:14-20, Matthew 22:34-40, John 15:9-17
December 24      John 1:1-18, Luke 15:11-31, Philippians 2:1-11
December 25      Matthew 1:18-25, John 3:16-17, 1 John 4:9-19

The message of Christmas is one of unconditional love.

Unconditional love looks like this: no matter what you look like, you’re accepted. No matter what you say, you’re accepted. No matter what you’ve done; you’re accepted. How is that possible? Because of God’s grace. It is a radical concept, and it is at the very heart of why we celebrate Christmas.

But because we live in a performance-oriented society, it takes some practice and time to really believe that message. We have to constantly remind ourselves (and each other!) of this truth.

1 John 4:10 in the Message translation says it like this:

“This is the kind of love we are talking about – not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.“

This week, reflect on the Christmas message of unconditional love through grace by reading and reflecting on these truths each day.

  • God accepts me because of His grace. I don’t have to hide my “mess.”
  • Grace means that there is nothing I can do to cause God to love me more.
  • Grace means that there is nothing I can do to cause God to love me less.
  • Grace means that he accepts me unconditionally – just the way I am.

Thank God for his unconditional love and ask for his help to grasp the truth of grace. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians gives us words for that prayer.

“I pray that you, being rooted an established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”