Love by decision

Tonight is Christmas Eve.  Many will stop and think about the night over 2000 years ago when Christ was born in Bethlehem.  Many will think of the manger, the shepherds, and, of course, the Baby!  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is a good thing to remember what God did.  How HE sent His son to become a man.  How Jesus was born in a cave used to keep livestock.  How His birth went unnoticed by anyone in the town.  How God took it upon Himself to reveal His Son’s birth to lowly shepherds.  I love all of those little details of the story.

But tonight I think of something different.  Tonight I am reminded that this plan was THE plan.  I mean, the one who designed our bodies, who put stars in motion, who scooped out the oceans with his hands, planned Christmas.  Christmas was not plan “B”.  Christmas was the plan from the beginning.  The omniscient God of the universe decided that creation was still worth it despite the fact that if He said, “let there be light” that darkness would also ensue.  He knew that His creation would rebel against Him and hate Him.  He knew the atrocities that would be committed.  And He knew that it would take the sacrifice of His Son, in the most brutal execution His fallen creatures could devise, to bring us back to Himself.

Tonight I sit here thinking,  “He knew all of that before He spoke a single atom into being, and He did it anyway!”  There are two conclusions you can draw from this.  One, God is a deranged madman with a predilection for self inflicted pain.  Or, two, God wanted us to know how good He is.  He wanted to show us what love looks like.  He wanted to show us what grace is like.  I think that the second option is the more difficult to fathom, but it is the truth nonetheless.  God knew what every one of our failures would look like.  He knew the details of every evil deed we would commit.  He knew it all.

Tonight I sit here thinking of the indescribable love that Christmas represents.  A love that knew no limits.  A love that was pure and self-sacrificing.  A love that was meant to bring peace.  A love not one of us could earn or demand.  A love beyond words.   The words that come closest to describing the love of God for us in sending Jesus are from the Apostle Paul who wrote this,  “But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Tonight I am speechless so I will borrow the words of the angels, “Glory to God in the Highest!”

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