This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.
(I John 4:9)
Certainty. Freedom. Joy. Peace. Identity. Purpose. Hope. What do these words have in common? I suppose there are a number of ways to link these words together, but I am thinking in mainly a grammatical sense. Do you see the commonality? They are all abstract nouns, things that you cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. Have you ever had to write an essay on an abstract noun? That's a common high school English assignment. For some reason I vividly remember my abstract noun essay assignment for 10th grade English from more than 20 years ago. I guess I did a good job of making that abstract concept concrete - at least in my mind.
What about arguably the greatest abstract noun of them all: Love. How would you define love?
You've probably heard or read the Bible passage, "God is love." (I John 4:16) In fact, there are few passages that are more misquoted and misapplied than "God is love," which is why you've likely heard it even if you've never come face-to-face with it in the Bible. You see, that statement is often used to speak of God in an abstract way, a way that often reduces God to nothing more than a good feeling, a God who doesn't really have anything concrete to say or to expect or to offer, a God who just wants me to be happy and so conveniently approves of however it is that I want to live my life.
But what God has said and has done are concrete. In love He revealed Himself through His works and His Word. In love He revealed His holy expectations for mankind. In love He proclaims the truth to us, that we have disobeyed Him and have earned eternal death. In love He says, 'I don't want sinners to die and to be separated from me forever!' In love He calls to us through His Word to turn us from our blind walk toward a cliff. In love He tells us not of an abstract concept, but He points us to a Love clothed in flesh and blood. Yes, "God SHOWED His love among us." Though we have earned the death sentence, God "sent His one and only Son into the world that we might LIVE through Him."
This Love is not abstract but concrete - you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste it. Examine this Love that God has shown us:
See this Love lying in a manger.
Hear this Love proclaim His message of eternal life.
Touch the feet of Love as He hung there with our sins.
Smell the scent of death as Love paid the ultimate price.
Taste the meal that Love shared with His disciples to show that He had risen, that He had risen indeed, that He had conquered death for us.
Read the Bible and you'll come face-to-face with Love; you'll come face-to-face with Jesus. And then you'll understand what else those abstract nouns have in common. Certainty. Freedom. Joy. Peace. Identity. Purpose. Hope. These blessings are proclaimed to you through Jesus and the message of full forgiveness in His name. Come and see, hear, touch, smell, and taste that these blessings are for real in Jesus.
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W
Questions or Comments? CLICK HERE TO CONTACT DANIEL.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.