Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ditch that Red Nosed Reindeer!

Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the love of God who loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world that we might have eternal life. But the world has changed the meaning of Christmas to a celebration of conspicuous consumption.
Lest you think of me as Grinch, out to rob you of that merriest of Christmases, think again. I love a party and giving and receiving gifts as much anyone. I just want to make sure we celebrate the right things.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It is important to understand what it means to bask in the love of our Creator. It means you have intrinsic value, not as a result of your performance, but because you are you.

The world’s concept of love is often an insatiable craving, conditional upon benefits received. I love chocolate, coffee, the Chicago Cubs and pizza.

Romantic Love is shown in our so-called love songs,
·        You make me feel good
·        I want you, I need You
·        I can't get along without you.

We accept others if they become like us. Love in today’s world is conditional on our performing.

Kids are taught this from a very early age, especially at Christmas. Even the beloved cowboy star, Gene Autry, became an unknowing accomplice when he introduced his song about a strange-looking reindeer:

“Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a very funny nose. 
And if you ever saw it you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeers used to laugh and call him names. 
They never let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games.”

Then Something Happened!

“Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say.
 ‘Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight.’”

And then!

“Then how the reindeers loved him, and they shouted out with glee. 
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, You'll go down in history.”

The other reindeer changed how they felt about Rudolph, because he performed a needed function. They loved because of what he did. God’s love for all humanity is unconditional love. You are not loved because you are lovable, but because you are loved you are lovable.

The object of love may have no value, but value is created by the fact that an object is loved. Take as an example a Child's Blanket - dirty, tattered and torn – but try to take it away from the child. That’s how God loves you.

God loved us while we were unlovable. 

After Rudolph saved Christmas, someone might care enough to die for him. But God demonstrates his own love for us - while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

God loved us before we responded to Him.  Like a newborn infant, who cries, eats, sleeps and messes up diapers, our value is not based on what we do for God or others. Our value is based upon the fact that we are loved by God.

I do not want to “dis” Rudolph - I have loved him since childhood - but I want you all to realize how pervasive is our misunderstanding of the awesomeness of God’s love.

Let us all enjoy this season with knowledge that we are loved by the Creator of the universe. It does not matter what others may think about us, we have value.

Feel free to share how you have been affected by God's love.