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Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Stars and angels gave the sign.
As we near the end of our Advent journey, we reflect on where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. We’ve celebrated the hope, peace, and joy of Christ that overcomes the darkness of this world. On this 4th Sunday of Advent, we celebrate love.
How? Again we turn to the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John:
I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
John 15:9-12, NLT
Our joy overflows when we remain in Christ’s love, and we do this by obeying his commandment: to love others as he loved us.
God doesn’t force us to love; he loves us too much to take away our free will. But he longs for our love, and for us to love. He desires for us to love not just him but all his creation as well—our brothers and sisters in Christ, and those who don’t know him yet.
But before we despair of how inadequately we follow this command, simple yet difficult as it is, remember that obedience depends not on our own strength but on the grace of God working in and through us (see Philippians 2:13).
He gives us the grace to both receive his love and remain in it; Jesus came to love us and enable us to love.
God’s love is less like a Christmas present and more like an Advent calendar; it’s not something we receive once but something we continue to practice daily. But more than the pretty paper windows or daily devotionals that help us anticipate Christmas, learning to live in God’s love prepares us to welcome Christ again at his second coming.
As we prepare to celebrate another Christmas, we remember the greater Advent season we continue to journey through as we await Christ’s return. Buoyed by hope, wrapped in peace, and overflowing with joy, there is nothing left but to love—and to be loved.
Lyrics from “Love Came Down at Christmas” by Christina Rossetti and Peter Pindar Stearns
For more Advent devotions, visit Tyndale’s Online Advent Calendar here.
Free Download: Enjoy these printable coloring pages from All Is Bright. Right-click on the image to save to your computer, then print out and color in!