God, You displayed perfect love at Christmas
through the gift of Your Son, Jesus.
I reflect upon Your free gift of amazing love to me.
May I approach all others from a heart established
in your perfect, incarnate, divine love. 

Focus of the Month: “The Promise Fulfilled”

The holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s add gatherings of all kinds to our calendars. The coming together for celebration, appreciation, charitable service, and reflection burst with fun, fancy and usually food!

However, we don’t always approach every event with joyful expectation. Honestly, some functions completely exhaust us mentally and emotionally before we’ve even arrived. Let’s face it: the holidays present forced interaction with people whom we perhaps don’t want proximity.

What? Did I really just say that? I did. Whether an introvert or extrovert, it matters not. The fact is people can be challenging to get along with, to want to be around, to like, to love. When one considers the varying convictions, opinions, habits, and idiosyncrasies among any given group – it’s a wonder we enjoy each other at all.

The stresses these gatherings pose are often compounded by not just balancing the many personalities, but also having to come face to face with people directly involved in past hurts, current struggles, and pending outcomes in our future. How do we positively endure and survive, while maintaining camaraderie and healthy boundaries among our various groups?

We must look unto the Creator of all and the Author of perfect love. We can only find the answer from Him.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11)

In the natural, all of humankind falls short of the glory of God. None of us could obtain right standing with God. No human could fulfill the law perfectly. Only Jesus – the Son of God – could fulfill the law in our stead. And so, God, in His mercy and great love, moved with compassion, and full of grace toward mankind, gave the gift of His only begotten Son…to reprieve, to redeem, to restore, to reconcile the relationship between God and mankind. 

Through Jesus, God’s love became incarnate. Perfect love put on flesh. Divine love came in bodily form.

As we study, pray, and walk through this season of Advent, looking back at God’s perfect gift of love – Love Incarnate, Love Divine, and looking forward to His coming again in glory, let’s be diligent to love others just as selflessly and compassionately as He loves us.

God didn’t look upon our oddities and mistakes, and turn His back or shut us out. No, He remedied them by reconciling us through the gift of perfect love. His gift in Jesus provided us the peace that breaks down every barrier of separation. That’s what love does. May we grow in the perfect love of God – the love that overcomes the obstacles in our relationships – and may we experience the reconciliation His established peace provides during each gathering this season, and beyond.

Holding Fast to Hope,
Maryann

Scripture References: Romans 3:23, 8:2-4; Matthew 5:17; John 1:14, 3:16-17; 1 John 4:7-21; Ephesians 2:11-22