I admit that I am a contributor to global warming (in part simply because I continue to exist!). Sometimes, on a cold snowy December night, I will take the long way home so that I can enjoy those energy sucking Christmas lights. There is just something about colored bulbs under a light coating of snow that really moves my heart (That is, as long as I don’t have to hang those evil strings!).
Of course, I delight in some of the other trappings of Christmas as well—especially the old carols. We still have a record player in our living room and it gets used during but one season of the year. You guessed it—Christmas. That three album set has gotten a lot of mileage since we’ve been married!
Now, we all know that Christmas is about much more than trees and lights and all the other trappings that fill our lives, but do we ever take time to think about the best response to Christ’s gift to us? I know that we should be thankful and appreciative of all that God has given, but still I think that our response to His love should go further.
In his first letter to the young pastor Timothy the Apostle Paul wrote, “But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” 1Timothy 1:5 (NET)
Why should we let go of our bitterness and forgive others? Because a major goal of the Christian faith is to honor God by loving others. God is love, and love lived out is one of the best ways to honor the One who loved us to the utmost.
We can erect Christmas trees in honor of our new lives in Christ (nothing wrong with that). We can put up lights and burn candles to celebrate the light of Christ (certainly significant). We can attend Christmas Eve services and sing Joy to the World (especially meaningful during a candlelight service). But if we really want to give back to God, love will define our interaction with others.
“But what does love look like?” I am sometimes compelled to ask. There are so many needs in this world and I can’t even begin to meet even a small portion of them. Sometimes I get overwhelmed just thinking about it (especially on top of the Christmas shopping that still needs to be done!).
The great basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” When it comes to honoring God, forgiving others is something that we always can do.
Loving God isn’t about us contriving grandiose sacrificial acts of service or giving. It’s simply a matter of doing what He commands. And what He commands, more than anything else, is for us to love one another from pure, unselfish hearts. Unselfish love is a gift that will please our heavenly Father whatever the season!