When I was a child, there was only one thing my mother would ever ask for when a holiday came around. It didn’t matter whether it was her birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or some other occasion…
Her one wish was always that her children would “get along.”
As an adult and having children of my own, I now find myself repeating the same request. In our home it is often a daily request.
I have come to understand that this is the greatest gift that any child can give their parent: to love one another.
This is SO important, in fact, that God says love is GREATEST… even higher in importance than hope and faith!
“Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
God, our Heavenly Father, wants no less than love and unity for and from us, His children. It pleases Him when we get along and love each other! He even went so far as to inspire Paul the apostle to write that we should be of one mind to honor Him; that this way of living is “worthy of the gospel of Christ“!
“Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel.”
This is a precious goal for Him to see accomplished in His children because He created us in His image, and He is one.
Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Interesting how the statement of God being One is immediately followed by the greatest commandment? He does nothing by accident. This passage is so sacred that it is regarded as a biblical commandment and recited daily by Jews, along with several following verses.
You know what follows? “Repeat them (these verses) to your children.”
Now, in real time where we try to flesh this out… it can be hard. That’s why He included the part about using “all your strength”. Our Father knows it is not easy! He came and died on the cross as Jesus… our Savior who sweat blood during His prayer! Yet, some of us Christians get our feelings hurt and start acting like the world owes us something. Y’all, this is NOT the way of our Lord!
Thankfully, God didn’t leave us to figure out how on our own.
We’ve got worship to bring in gratitude to a Father who IS love, in Whose presence we are redeemed by His blood and then guided by His Holy Spirit. We have received this Holy Spirit Who helps us bring forth fresh and bountiful fruit. The most important of which, is love.
We are enabled to love each other and the rest of the world as Christ loves us.
Our Father is not ignorant to why we would behave in an unloving way. He has, in His great wisdom, revealed to us the reason for lack of love in this world.
It is always rooted and selfish ambition.
(2 Corinthians 12:20, James 3:16)
It is not because of the irritating person on the train. It is not because of the mother-in-law you don’t want to see this Christmas. It is not even because of your trauma. It is you and your selfishness. I wish I could give a better, feel-good reason… but I would rather give you Biblical than “better.” However…
We have in our possession the secret to world peace. Jesus.
God Himself who came here and showed us how to live surrendered in Love. Jesus Christ, whom we are about to celebrate this Christmas. We have no excuse, with all the materialistic preparation we do, for refusing to get to know Him more intimately through scripture, prayer, worship, and meditation…
Then pursue this beautiful goal of oneness and love.
We go into this Christmas season with hearts full of Joy and we would do well to remember where that Joy came from; that it is not to stopat us but to flow through us to our brothers and sisters and to those that Jesus calls the “least of these.”
Love is for EVERYONE.
So, whether you choose to be a vessel of love for your extended family whom you would rather not see, the woman in the grocery store that has a declined card at the checkout, or a homeless man who just needs someone to sit and talk to for a couple hours so he can feel like the human being he is… Be loving!
For it is not when we love those who love us that the world is changed, but when we love those who are in need of love. Isn’t this what Jesus did for us? Isn’t this why He came to be born in the most unassuming way… so that He might redeem us while we were still sinners?
Start today, and by Christmas we will see miracles take place!
Be One. Be Love. Live in a manner worthy of the gospel.