So how do we receive it? It will be the easiest thing you do today, if you haven’t already. It’s as simple as accepting a gift from a loved one. It is knowing that you did absolutely nothing to deserve such a lovely gift, but you are so thankful that your heart is full!
How do we show love back to God, the gift giver? Worship! Praise! Honor! This looks like obedience, but feels like love. God gave us guidelines to live by. The bible is so clear on so many daily issues we struggle with. We love Him back by doing His will, not ours.
Now, the loving others…that can be challenging on any given day! Who are these others or “neighbors” that Jesus refers to when He answers this question from the Pharisee in Matthew 22:36-40?
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Our neighbor is certainly not just the guy who resides beside us. Oh no, our neighbors are everywhere! Family members who we don’t see eye to eye with, spouses, ex-spouses, church members who worship differently, and yes our enemies are all our neighbors. OUCH! That last one gets me every time. What?! You have no enemies? Think about it. Who do we refuse to forgive? Who causes us anger and anxiety? Who interferes with our right relationship with almighty God? Those are our enemies. Love them. Pray for them. Pray to be able to extend to them the mercy that has been so generously given to us.
Out of gratitude to the one true God who sent His Son as a living sacrifice to atone for all our sins, past ,present and future, show love today to everyone you encounter. This is the love of Christmas!
I love you and God does, too!