Column: Necessary love
“If anyone loves God, he is known by God.” – 1 Corinthians 8:3
The gift of Jesus Christ – the gift we celebrate at Christmas – is this “knowing” relationship humanity has with God.
It’s unique. Period.
“Say it ain’t so” if you want to. Say that every religion seeks knowledge and love of God, Christianity is just another of those religions, blah, blah, blah. But a dismissive statement like that only serves to prove one’s desperate lack of scholarship, understanding and investigation. Christmas celebrates our opportunity to love God and be known by God. It’s a relationship no one else is selling.
“I am the way and the truth and the life; nobody comes to the father except through me,” says Jesus in John 14:6. He must mean it, because no other religion claims anything remotely close.
The arrival of God as man in the Christ child, the baby Jesus – incarnate, “and the Word became flesh,” John 1:14 – is unique in history and well deserves the biggest party and commemoration of any year. The party goes just fine, but the commemoration of what we’re actually celebrating tends to get lost amid the egg nog, gift wrapping, lawn Santas and politically correct brutality against showing or mentioning God’s own symbol, sign and seal of our salvation, Jesus Christ. Happy holidays.
Which is to say: as a culture we are quite good at knowing Christmas and quite bad at knowing Christ. We don’t discern and embrace what Christ means and how one-of-a-kind special He is. The “baby Jesus in a manger” narrative is quaint and cozy, and our holiday decorations and gift giving are beautiful and joyous. But we have peacefully, self-righteously, and stupidly forfeited the understanding of the uniqueness of not only the best gift at Christmas but the best gift of all time – the gift of knowing God’s love.
What’s so important about God’s love? “Love” is who and what God is: “God is love” says the Bible over and over again. It was God’s love in the beginning that was “His Word” that then became earthly flesh so that mankind, in Jesus, could see God’s face, hear God’s voice, love God’s presence and then dwell with Him for all eternity.
All that was demanded of us – graciously, compassionately and miraculously – wasn’t our own Godly perfection, but faith in God’s perfection. God endows that faith to all, along with our complete freedom to accept it or reject it.
Rejection? That looks like Jesus on the cross.
Acceptance? Its beauty and glory exceeds anything we can imagine: we get to be known by God. And the only thing necessary is love.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) prays for your peace and rest in Christ.