If Christmas isn't about love, it is nothing. The enormous love of a God to send his only Son to die a horrible death, all of which is known before his birth, just to save our souls. The incredible love of a Savior to love each and every one of us, no matter what we do or say. Indeed, a love which is, frankly, beyond our understanding.
These verses from John describe this love and further explains why that love was given to become such an intimate part of our lives. John explains that we are to love one another because God loves each one of us. John's statements are simple and easily understood: Whoever does not love does not know God. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
I've been having a hard time this Christmas finding the peace of Christmas. I've been way too wrapped up in the get-it-all-done mentality and wallowing in all kinds of self pity. I have allowed myself to get away from the very reason for Christmas. On the way home from church on Christmas Eve, I heard a news report about the folks at the homeless shelter in Manassas. They interviewed one lady who had been a teacher of nurses but who had been laid off and lost her home to foreclosure. Now, she has a part time job cleaning houses and lives at the homeless shelter. It's so easy to hear these stories and make believe that the persons involved are light years away from our lives. But, this lady could be my neighbor. Is she feeling the love of Christmas?
The thing about this amazing love of God that John writes about is that it is right there - you can reach out and touch it. It is available to everyone equally. All we need to do is to live in love. When we live in love, God lives in us and we in him. It's that simple -- and yet, because I'm the hard headed person I am, it's that hard.
My Christmas wish for each of you is that you take the opportunity to open your heart to this love and to live it.