12/25/12 Mary Ottley (C’15)
1 John 4:7-16
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.-1 John 4:7-16
I will begin this meditation with a short anecdote: I quite enjoy sermons that begin with stories because, admittedly, I am the person in the congregation that needs her attention captured. So for those of you with similar needs, here goes it: I recently sat in Nabit (our art building) working on an art project and playing music. Suddenly, the song “What Do I Know Of Holy” by Addison Road began to play. I was so entranced by the lyrics swarming throughout my head that it caused me to put down the charcoal and focus solely on the music. I never knew I could have such an emotional response to a song; tears began to fill my eyes. The line that spoke directly to me said, “What do I know of You who spoke me into motion? Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean? Are you fire? Are you fury?” I cried (slightly embarrassing as I look back on it now), and was brought to my knees before God.
This moment of vulnerability is one of the greatest things I appreciate about the God we serve: he is a God of love and acceptance. The truth is I know almost nothing of God’s holiness. I cannot begin to understand the depth of the love he has for us. I am even getting a little teary-eyed typing this now because his love for us is so great that it has an overwhelming power. Today is Christmas, the day of our Savior’s birth. This day contains the same overwhelming effect—we, sinful creatures, were given the greatest gift we will ever receive. The gift of God’s son was given unto us with the purest of motives, given to us as an act of love. The author of 1 John consoles us in chapter 4 verse 10 when he says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” God knew that we could never fully know his holiness or his love, yet he gave us his son anyway. On this joyous day, bask in that love. Walk around with your held high, knowing that you are loved and cherished beyond measure. Praise God for his gift of love and, in turn, demonstrate that love that you have received to everyone you encounter today and throughout the New Year. Merry Christmas to you and your family!