A Mom hears her baby cry in the night. Though her body is exhausted, she rises from her slumber, lifts her baby, bounces him once or twice, and then feeds him. Love responds.
A Dad is tired from working two jobs to make some extra money for Christmas. His alarm goes off way too early; he knows he will need to make the coffee extra strong this morning. He can’t help but ask himself, “What am I doing?” He flips the light on in the kitchen, and sees the picture of his little girl in her dance outfit on the fridge, held in place by a Disney Princess magnet. A smile rises, unbidden. He knows why he’s up so early. Love works.
The teenager has passed beyond Barbie and entered the world of hot teen fashion. Her after-school job gives her just enough money to buy the right outfits. But lately she’s been thinking about how much her parents do for her. Her cell phone buzzes; she realizes they pay for it. After work, she gets in the car her parents bought; they also pay for the gas and the insurance. A new thought rises – maybe it’s time to give something back to them. She decides to forgo buying a new outfit, and instead heads to her Mom’s favorite store to get something for really cool for her – and to pay for it with her own money. Love gives.
He has scrimped and saved for over a year, waiting for this moment. He was tempted to buy a new shotgun, but told himself “no.” He needed every dime for this big purchase. He told his buddies that he was getting tired of Ramen Noodle soup every night and got a big laugh. But he also saw the envy in their eyes. All the self-denial, all the hope, and all the future was riding on this moment. In a clearing in the woods, he got down on one knee, and pulled out the sparkling diamond ring, and asked the big question. Her tears flowed, but her head nodded “yes.” Love sacrifices.
Where do you suppose we get this idea from – the idea that love responds, works, gives, and sacrifices?
God saw the world was broken. Though He didn’t break it, He was the only one who could fix it. So God responded. He sent His son Jesus to this earth, not to fix it with one magical spell, but to work. Jesus became one of us, to teach us and encourage us. Then Jesus sacrificed himself for us – when He could have been self-centered and walked away. Jesus is the model for teaching us how to love.
This is the story of Christmas. Love sacrifices.