Candle of Love
By DANNY MINTON
While Christmastime means a time of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, it is in Love that we find the true meaning of the night so many centuries ago. The glow in the lighting of the “Candle of Love” should be a reminder of how much God loves us. We rejoice at the birth of the baby Jesus, fulfilling the “Hope” of men’s hearts. Knowing the “Peace” he brings, aids us in moving forward in times of pain. The “Joy” we have celebrating His coming enlightens our hearts. However, when we view the event from God’s viewpoint, we see another meaning, the meaning of the “Candle of Love,” God’s Love for us all. When Jesus was born into this earth, he was born to die for man’s sins. John shares with us, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only son.” John 3:16 (NIV, 2011)
A legend tells the story of King Cyrus and the Persian Empire, who once captured a prince and his family. “What will you give me if I release you?” he asked. The prince answered, “I’ll give you half of everything I own.” “And if I release your children?” the king responded. “Everything I own,” came the reply. “And what if I release your wife?” came the king’s final question. “For her, I’ll give you my life.” The king was so impressed with the prince that he released him and his family. As they returned home, the prince turned to his wife and said, “Wasn’t the king a handsome man?” The prince’s wife, with deep love, looked at her husband, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on the one who was willing to give himself for me.” (Unknown)
The Christmas story represents God’s willingness to give the one most precious to Him for a world that was lost. Why? “For God so loved the world!” The birth of Jesus finds its fulfilled purpose some thirty-three years later on a hill outside Jerusalem. “For one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own Love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8 (NASB)
God, in return, asks us to love one another. The Christmas season is one time of the year when men and women everywhere have a change of heart. We exchange gifts and gather as families to enjoy time together. We walk down the street and drop a coin in the bucket of someone collecting for the poor. We donate to the local food bank so others can have a better holiday season. We “go to church,” some for the only time during the year, but still, we go to honor the One who came so long ago. The season seems to change people, encouraging the good to come out of the hearts of us all. “A Christmas Carol,” Mr. Scrooge’s story, shows how it can change our hearts when we view a world with Love. In the animated story “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown picks a sickly-looking tree and becomes frustrated with how everyone around him seems to have lost the true meaning of what Christmas is all about. Then his friend Linus reminds him of something he had forgotten.
“I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this
little tree,” said Charlie Brown. “Everything I do turns into
a disaster. I guess I don’t really know what Christmas is
all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas
is all about?”
“Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about,” said Linus. At this point, Linus recalls the birth of Jesus from the “Gospel According to Luke.”
One thing that God asks of us is that we take His Love and share it with others. How? Paul answers this in a letter to the Corinthians when he says, “Love is patient, Love is kind and is not jealous; Love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. – But now faith, hope, Love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is Love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-10, 13 (NASB)
This Christmas season, think about the great Love God has for you. Remember and appreciate the most extraordinary gift that anyone will ever present to you. In return, share the gift of Love with each person you meet. Never forget and never take your eyes off the One who loves you and was willing to give His Son and His life for you.
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ