Today’s reading contains several oft-quoted passages:
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" ; and "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. "
These passages highlight the centrality of love and its importance in our walk of faith. It also brings to mind some of the other messages of love: “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Feelings of love are all around us at Christmas and as I read today’s passage, I thought about my work Christmas party. Every year we have a party and it has all the ingredients of a great celebration: good people, good fun, and great food! There are even decorations and gifts. Everyone that attends is festive and full of cheer. I always enjoy celebrating with my co-workers and most people leave that party feeling that they’ve celebrated Christmas and in a sense we really have. Christmas is about giving, sharing, and celebrating with one another.
As wonderful, as my work party is though; there is a critical ingredient that it lacks – Jesus. My company doesn’t deem it politically correct to encourage a strictly Christian celebration in the work place. Now, that is not to say that religious expression is prohibited or even discouraged, only that our Christmas party does not recognize Jesus – the very reason there is a Christmas celebration. It’s a shame that we can have such a wonderful party but miss the critical ingredient.
Now back to today’s reading.
Love is key; but sometimes I think we can focus on the actions of love: loving one another, loving our neighbor as ourselves, following the Golden Rule; and miss the key ingredient.
Verse 10, defines love for us, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " Then verse 15 goes on to identify the critical ingredient to our walk of faith: “God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.”
There are many wonderful people, leading very productive and loving lives but they are missing that critical ingredient. Perhaps, that is you? On this Christmas day, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus – don’t miss the chance to make that confession. Abide in God today.