Today on Christmas morning, we complete the season of Advent, which has helped prepare our hearts for Christmas. Our Advent theme this year has been “An Invitation for All People.” Every Christmas is an open invitation from God to every person on planet earth to experience hope, peace, joy, and love through Christ Jesus.
Because Jesus has already come once, the white Christ candle has remained lit throughout the Advent season. So far, we have lit the Candles of Hope, Peace, and Joy. Today we light our final candle, the third purple candle, the Candle of Love.
We take our reading from John 3:16–17, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
We often get asked: what was the greatest gift you got this Christmas? But since it’s better to give than to receive, do you ever think about the greatest gift you GAVE this Christmas? God the Father would have no trouble answering that question. What was the greatest gift God ever gave?
Without a doubt, it is the gift of Jesus Christ. Jesus wasn’t wrapped in pretty paper and laid under a tree. No, more glorious than that, He was wrapped in human flesh and then wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. Jesus is a great gift!
And to whom was this great gift given? Jesus was given to the entire world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They were given Him that night.
So, every tribe, tongue, people, and nation,
Join with Christ in the celebration.
And what was the purpose of this great gift? Jesus was given to us to save us from the condemnation of our sins, to save us from perishing, and to give us life everlasting.
And how are we saved through this great gift? By believing in Jesus and on Jesus. Who… so… ever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life! And whosoever believes in Him will not face condemnation but will be saved.
And why did God give us this great gift? Well, that gets to the subject of our Advent candle today. The answer to why God gave us this great gift is simple: love. God loved the world SO MUCH that He gave us the greatest gift He could ever give, His only-begotten Son, Jesus. Love motivated this gift.
And so, this morning we light the Candle of Love. As God the Father has loved us by giving us the gift of Jesus Christ, the King of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone Him. From our family to yours, “Merry Christmas!”