Advent: December 7
Read: 1 John 4:9
Thoughts for Parents:
Yesterday we read about God’s love from John 3:16. We thought about how that beautiful passage might have become old hat to us. Today, we’re going to think more about what God’s love is like. Sometimes when we think about love we think of fat babies floating on clouds with arrows meant to pierce the heart … or we think of nice feelings, pretty sunsets, or Valentines. But God’s love is not some abstract principle or saccharine sentiment. No, His love is active, fierce, and actually quite shocking. His love is willing to sacrifice the One He loves most for our sake. God demonstrates the quality of His love when He sends His only Son into the world, a Son who is sent to live as our perfect Representative, to die as a sinner, and to be raised as the head of a whole new race of people—people no longer under the curse for disobedience, but people under the blessing for righteousness. Why would He do this? So we might live.
The truth is that God’s love is simply beyond our understanding, and, in fact, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we’ll never believe that His love is that strong, that generous, that good. It’s just too good to be true. It’s His love for sinners that the religious people of Jesus’ day (and ours) objected to. Sinners don’t deserve God’s love, we think. They don’t deserve to be with Him! And while it’s true that we deserve justice instead of mercy, because He’s God He gets to choose those whom it is right for Him to love … and He’s chosen to love us and give us eternal life through the work of His Son.
Why would He want to sacrifice like that? Why would He love like this? Because we are His creation and He loves to love us. Is there something more? Should we try to add anything? Although it’s tempting to think that adding something to make God’s love make sense would be good, it’s actually an insult. We’re saying that He really isn’t capable of unselfish love … and that’s an insult.
Thoughts for Children:
Our verse from yesterday and our verse from today are a lot alike. There are actually a bunch of verses in the Bible that say the very same thing over and over again. This is because we forget that God loves us over and over again. We think that we have to be good little boys and girls in order to earn God’s love. We think that God could never love us just to love us, but that we must do sweet things to be loveable. But that is not what the Bible says. The Bible tells us again and again that God loves because that is what God is like. He loves us so much that He gives us everything we need in order to know everything about His love. He loves us even when we don’t think we want His love. He loves us even when we do ugly things and forget about His love. His love is stronger and bigger than all the bad things we do.
Even mommies and daddies forget God’s love. Every single one of us looks for something to make us happy, maybe a new toy or a new bike or a new video game—we cannot wait to see what presents we will get. The one present that will make us the happiest is already ours. God has already given us His love by giving us Jesus. This love will make us happy forever.
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