This Christmas, we all journey toward a deeper understanding of God’s Love. The Scriptures are full of examples of God providing love, such as when He appeared on the mountain top with thunder and lightning; how He fed the Israelites with manna and quail; how His Shekinah Glory filled the temple; how He led with a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. But, we experience the genius of God’s Love in the Christmas story.
As we take the Christmas ‘journey of our hearts’ to Bethlehem, we discover something new about ourselves, and about how we choose to reflect His Love. When we look at a newborn in the manger, or allow ourselves to stop and reflect on how God Loves us through that image – the sounds, smells and feelings around an infant in a manger – then we find our deeper journey, our response, and how we choose to reflect His Love.
Last weekend we heard from so many that it is not Christmas until they, “Go to Bethlehem and see the baby,” (i.e. Return to Bethlehem hosted by Groce UMC). It is still one of the best representations of how His Love was expressed in the birth of His Son. Sure, we were all surprised by snow and disappointed to lose two days of crowds, but we were also surprised on Sunday when the sanctuary filled up over and over with those eager to make this “journey of the heart” by deliberately setting aside time to re-engage in the, “Old, Old Story…”
The question Jesus asked is one of the most powerful, “When did we see you…thirsty, hungry, naked, imprisoned, and sick or a stranger? And…when you did – you did it to me.” The world wants us to respond, react, and to just express that Love with some thing, some item. Jesus, instead, wants us to react and respond to His Love that is unconditional and full of His Grace. He inspires us to embrace Him through meeting one another’s real need. When we respond to His Love by loving one another, then we continue His journey to bring, “good news and peace on earth.”
As you read the other stories in this newsletter about God’s Love, I hope you will share them during your Christmas celebrations with your family or friends. Tell these miracle stories of courage and compassion, of restored lives, and of others embracing their neighbors.
Merry Christmas to all our friends! Great thanks, as well, to every congregation, volunteer, and business who expresses their gratitude and compassion for their neighbors in their own respective traditions. This truly helps us all know how much God Loves us, and invites us to Love one another.
Reverend Scott Rogers