READ : 1 John 4:7-12, 19-21
Those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. (v. 20 NRSV)
God demonstrated incredible love when he sent Jesus into the world. Jesus’ coming in the flesh showed that God was willing to go to any length to have a relationship with those he loves.
John reflects on the love of God and draws this conclusion: “since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another” (v. 11 NRSV). The message is consistent with what Jesus also said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37-39 NRSV). There is a connection between loving God and loving people. The command to love people is a way of fulfilling the command to love God.
We often celebrate Christmas by spending time with people. We get together with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and with other members of the body of Christ. As you prepare to gather with all kinds of people in the days to come, ask God to make you aware of someone you’ve been withholding love from. Then ask God to inspire you to love them in some small (or large!) way when you see them next.
Loving God, as I gaze at the baby in the manger fill my heart with love for you—a God who would go to any length for me. Show me those who also need your love. Amen.