My husband and I attended his grandkids Christmas program at the local Christian school recently. Since it was elementary & middle school aged children presenting it, there was the awkwardness and challenges that happens in all kids' school programs. Some of it was painful almost like when a child is learning a musical instrument with all the squeaks and squawks. They were adorable! These children were there celebrating Jesus' birthday with friends, family and teachers who love them very much. The motivation to go through all the embarrassment of forgetting lines and microphone incidents was out of love. Everyone there, including the teachers, were present out of love.
I remember a situation when one of my kids was in a high school choir Christmas program. Something very sad occurred. A young lady in the choir on the risers looked anxiously through the crowd as if looking for someone. Disappointment and sadness crept over her lovely face. No one had come for her. One of my daughters told me about it and we went to her to tell her what a wonderful job she did. Her face lit up! I couldn't imagine what that was like for her. She needed someone to step up to the plate for her. Her teachers and friends did, then when we found out, we knew we needed to as well.
When we love people we sacrifice a part of ourselves. All of us could have been doing something else the night of the school concert. We weren’t there for quality entertainment, although it can happen as a bonus for our attendance. The main point is to be there for them. In order to do that, we give up something else. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, eight of which we should sleep. But even sleep is sacrificed for others at times. Parents sacrifice sleep for a hungry baby or a sick child. A wife or husband sacrifices sleep for a loved one having surgery in the wee hours of the morning. Although sleep is essential to health, we give it up under special circumstances for those we love. Love gives up what is wanted or needed for someone else.
When we love others we invest in them. Parents and grandparents invested money, time and energy helping the kids at the concert learn their lines, have their costumes, and the cost of education overall. They certainly could have done something else, but the kids were important. We pay for things that someone may never buy for themselves to help them feel valuable. Their value isn’t in what they can or cannot do, but who they are to us. One spouse works to help the other finish college. One buys a gift to help the needs of another. Shoveling the walk or picking up groceries for someone who can’t do it themselves is love in action. Giving others what we have because we love them and want the best for them is what love does.
God made a sacrifice and paid a tremendous price for us. He came here in human form that we might identify with Him. He paid the ultimate price by sacrificing His physical life for our sins that we might live forever with Him. He rose from the dead that we might have a new life. This Christmas, may you extend love to others through sacrifice and investment because of the great love God has shown for us.
When researching Advent, I found this from "Our Daily Bread" December 1, 2011 written by Julie Ackerman Link: "During Advent, we emphasize hope, peace, joy, and love, which God sent with Christ.
HOPE. We have an inheritance reserved in heaven, a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3-5).
PEACE.We will love life and see good days if we turn from evil and do good and if we seek peace, for the Lord watches over the righteous and hears their prayers (3:10-12).
JOY. We have inexpressible joy even though we have trials because our faith is being tested and prove genuine. The end of this faith is the salvation of our souls (1:6-9).
LOVE.We can love one another with a pure heart because we have been born again through the Word of God which lives and abides forever (1:22-23)."Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.”
The last candle in the center is the Christ candle. Enjoy Jesus' birthday together!
I would like to focus on these passages through the Advent season. May God bless you!