At this time of year I am often reminded of a song I learnt when I was a child which says “Christmas is a time to love” but really we should be reflecting Christ’s love throughout the year. The Bible tells us that God is love and that the greatest commands are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Now there are three aspects to this – firstly we need to love God. It is only in Him that we discover what true, Agape love is and so can reflect that to others. We need to know that no matter what we have done He still loves us because there are no hooks attached to His love. He loves us because He is Love, not because of us or anything we could do.
Secondly, we need to share His love with others. As we love God with all our hearts, soul, minds and strength this love should overflow to loving others including those who are considered unlovable. It means not judging people but seeing that just as God has forgiven us we also need to forgive others whether this is because of something they have done personally to us or someone we love or whether it is just one of those ‘sins’ that rank quite high on our list of ‘sins’ – remember in God’s eyes all sin is the same, there is no hierarchy to sin.
Lastly, we need to love ourselves. Unfortunately a lot of people these days do not love themselves but just as God commanded us to love Him and to love His people He also commands us to love ourselves. He has made you fearfully and wonderfully and He is happy with the way He made you so who are you to judge His handiwork? Learn how to love yourself and you will be so much better at reflecting His love to others as well. In fact I was tempted to put this as the second point because I honestly believe in order to love others well we need to love ourselves first. Not to be proud but to have more love to give to others. Have you ever noticed how those who don’t love themselves can tend to put others down and be overly harsh and critical because they actually don’t like themselves so they want to make the other person appear worse than they are. Love yourself and you will be better equipped to show love and respect to others and to help build them up.
So this Christmas let us show love as God loved us. Let us love God first, then ourselves and others. Let’s build others up and encourage them and be a light this Christmas.