You Gave Us Your Love
What did you get for Christmas? Was it what you’ve been hoping for? Was it what you asked for?
On Christmas morning, I opened the blinds on the front door just in time to see a full-grown man fly down our suburban street on a shiny new go-cart that I’m assuming was purchased “for the kids”. He looked elated, like he had finally just checked that box on his fourth-grade Christmas list. I saw kids riding new bikes, countless drones hovering close enough to smash with a baseball bat (I politely refrained), new dolls, new diamonds, new slippers…you name it, and people of all ages were out there playing with their new “toys”.
But for everyone out there that I saw reveling in the joy of these new temporal treasures, I knew there were also those who found themselves disappointed. Disappointed because they seemingly didn’t get everything they hoped for or asked for. Disappointed because they seemingly didn’t get anything at all. Disappointed because they found themselves alone, or surrounded by people but still feeling alone. And so went the first day of the Christmas season for those who celebrate it across the world; a variety of different experiences ranging from joy to sorrow, delight to disappointment, and everything in between.
As we journey through the rest of these days of Christmas – days that oftentimes get lost in a sort of transitional, dragged out anticlimax that lasts until we find ourselves back to work in full swing the by the second week of January – I sincerely feel like the Lord is inviting me, inviting us, to realize more fully exactly what he has given us. It’s not something that we can fully appreciate when we first unwrap it. It takes a little while to sink in, maybe the rest of our lives. Perhaps St. John describes most concisely this gift we’ve been given in his most famous of scripture quotes when he says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” – John 3:16
God has given us the ultimate gift: the gift of himself. Whether we know it or not, he has given us more than we were hoping for and more than we could have ever known to ask for. God becomes one of us, he becomes Emmanuel, he becomes part of our story, our family, our situation and circumstance. And he comes, not only as the Savior of the world…he comes as my Savior, as your Savior. Let it sink in for a minute, we’ve heard it a thousand times, but have we received it?
As we prayed about these things, Lizzy and I wrote this song “You Gave Us Your Love”. We wrote it at the same time that we were welcoming our precious daughter Molly into the world last November. Since then, we’ve realized two things about our lives since she’s arrived:
1) She’s real. She’s here, she’s flesh and blood and blue eyes and an endless stream of dirty diapers. In a beautiful way this love that we’ve shared for years now as a married couple is suddenly not just an intangible reality but one that is living and breathing…one that literally has a name.
2) She’s changed everything. There is nothing or very close to nothing about our lives that is the same anymore. Molly has changed what we think about, what we talk about, how we spend our time, what we worry about, what we dream about and plan for in the future, and on and on.
Perhaps we can consider this Christmas season that what we’ve received in the gift of God’s own Son is not just a nostalgic story or another year of delight (or disappointment). What we’ve received is the gift of a person who is real and who changes everything. God’s love for us isn’t invisible or intangible anymore…it has a name, and his name is Jesus. This love is the gift that has power to change everything about our lives. All the things we think can never be saved, all the darkness that we think no light can penetrate, all the wounds, the sorrows, and the disappointments…this is where he desires to come, this is where he desires to be born.
We have a beautiful manger scene on our coffee table with a bunch of little figurines. I’m ashamed to say that this is the first year I’ve really noticed that, as romantic as it looks, this stable is clearly less than an ideal place for the labor and delivery of a child. My heart, my situation, my family – all seemingly imperfect places, and less than ideal locations for the birth of God’s Son. But this is exactly where he desires to come, to you and to me. Right into our mess, right into our “stable”. Why? Because he truly desires to give to us the perfect gift of himself, the gift of his love.
What did you get for Christmas? Was it what you were hoping for? Was it what you asked for? Perhaps we can spend some time in these days of Christmas to let it sink into our hearts that God has given us the greatest gift of all…he gave us his love. – Greg Boudreaux
Listen to “You Gave Us Your Love”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaR0rw4qlBY&app=desktop