We've been singing a song lately at Freedom about Christmas, even though you may not have thought about it that way:
'Love came down and rescued me....Love came down and set me free... I am Yours, Lord....I am forever Yours'
No, the lyrics don't talk about Bethlehem or the angel choir or shepherds that are all part of the Nativity narrative. However, they do describe who Jesus is, what motivated him to leave heaven and come to earth, and what he gave us that changed our lives.... Love.
As you know, we started celebrating Advent last Sunday and will do so throughout December. Advent is a term that means coming and relates specifically to Jesus coming to earth the first time in human form. Advent recalls the waiting of the people for the Messiah to arrive to save mankind and set up his eternal kingdom. Each Sunday we light a candle representing four blessings that we have in Jesus - hope, love, joy and peace.
Last week we focused on hope that God gives us through his promises. This Sunday I will speak to you about God's love for us expressed by giving himself sacrificially without hesitation. Christmas is essentially a love story that's true. God went out of his way to give us what we need to experience forgiveness and freedom from our sinfulness and to become part of God's family throughout eternity. And God gives us clear evidence to confirm what he has done so that we can believe and receive.
The Old Testament prophets played a significant role in God's redemptive plan. God spoke to many prophets and gave them insights into the future. They were responsible to pass the message on to the people so that they would know what was coming and get prepared for it. When the events came to pass, the prophets were recognized as truly being sent by God and the things that took place were acknowledged as being part of God's salvation plan.
If you take the time, you will find over a hundred prophecies in the Bible that refer directly to Jesus being God's chosen one to save mankind from sin. Many of those have already been fulfilled in one person that we know is Jesus Christ. Details about Jesus' birth spoken by the prophets and coming to pass give credibility to the Christmas story and give us foundation for our faith. The other prophecies about Christ's life and earthly ministry do the same for us and should give us the impetus to become aware of what is yet to come.
Think about and give thanks to God for the love that he has already lavished on us as an act of worship. 'Love came down and rescued me....I am forever Yours'.
See you Sunday,