December 24, 2020

Love Came Down At Christmas

Passage: John 1:1-14

An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die.  His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood.  He consented and they found that his blood was a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance of living.  He said he would have to think about it overnight.  The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood.  So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his sister.  Both of them were hooked up to IVs.  A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV.  The boy laid on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister's arm.  With tears in his eyes, he asked a nurse, “How much longer will it be before I die?”  His parents looked at one another and tears filled their eyes.  What the boy was willing to give can be called A Love Sacrifice.  But you see, there was only one true Love Sacrifice that came into reality.  The King of glory, the Lord of heaven, gave Himself to you and me when Love Came Down At Christmas.

John began his Gospel quite differently from the other Gospel writers.  Their writings included the details about the birth of Jesus that gave artists and composers what they needed for their paintings and songs – the star over the town of Bethlehem, the Baby with Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the magi and the animals.  But John wanted to simply show us the heart of God.  It was like he wanted to emphasize - “Look at the heart of God!  In love He gave His only Son.”                                                                  

Why did God open His heavenly realms for Love to come down to us?  There are two reasons we want to meditate on from the first chapter of John's Gospel:  First we are moved to learn that God Had A Strong Desire To Communicate With Us.  John tells us in his first chapter that the Creator came into His creation – the world He made. The Creator became flesh and made His dwelling among His creatures.  This decision God made to send His Son and what Jesus willingly agreed upon is a mystery that left many people over time speechless.  Just think about it:
· Jesus Who owns the universe, came into this world, and had to find a place to be born.
· Jesus Who is Almighty, came into this world, and needed to be carried by human hands.
· Jesus Who has everything in His control, came into this world and was despised by man.
This condescension was something hundreds of theologians could only talk and write about, but in themselves they could never find the answer for it.  It brought Martin  Luther to the point to say, "The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding."  A Hindu man went to a Billy Graham rally and afterwards he commented, “I was quite moved by Graham's words, but there is one thing that will always keep me from the Christian faith...and that is the believe that God came down from heaven into the world.”  But you see my friends, that is the whole essence of our faith.  God decided that it wasn't enough to send someone to represent Him like an angel or a messenger.  No, there was a point in time when He felt that He should come Himself into the world.  That's why we celebrate Christmas – “Emmanuel, God with us”, came.  Why did God feel the need to come?  John gave the answer in a few words, "He came to that which was His own..." Verse 11.  Try to fathom the heart of God – He never needed us for anything, but He decided to communicate with us.  This very simple, almost like a childlike story, was what John described in his Gospel – God came and lived among us.  He had to reveal Himself to us in an understandable way, and this was precisely what Jesus did.  He became flesh, just like you and me and He made Himself understandable.  That's why He sat down with sinners and even accepted rejection when His own people didn't want to receive Him.  But Jesus had a strong desire to communicate with people.
They needed to hear about the love of God.

John gives a second reason why Love Came Down At Christmas – God Had A Strong Desire To Make Us His Children.  Listen to the beautiful words of verses 12 and 13, “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  How did God make us His children?  There was a love sacrifice at Golgotha and there in the blood of Jesus we were purchased from sin and death.  We were bought at a price no one in the whole world could ever have enough money for.  The message on Christmas Eve is that God loved us so much that He gave the life of His Son as a ransom for us.  Will you appreciate with me again that the love of Christmas can never be just the manger of Bethlehem?  No, it had to go all the way to Golgotha where Jesus died on the cross.  Yes, this love was deep, because God the Father went as deep in His heart as He could to save us.  Pastor A.J. Gordon, from the Clarendon Church in Boston,  was on his way  to celebrate communion one Sunday.  About a half block away from the church he saw a boy coming from a field with a trap and a rusted cage.  Inside the cage were about 6 wild birds.  He asked the boy what he was going to do with the birds.  The boy replied, “I'm going to feed them to my old cat.”  Gordon was disturbed about the prospect and asked, “How much do you want for the cage and birds?  Would $5-00 be enough?”  “Oh no, mister”, the boy said, “They're just worthless birds, they can't even sing.  You don't want to pay that much for them.”  The pastor gave the boy $5-00 and continued on to the church.  When it was time for the sermon, he began with the words, “God set us free.”  He then took out the cage with birds from behind the pulpit and asked his congregation to follow him outside.  He opened the cage and as the birds flew off, they chirped all the way until they couldn't be seen any more.  They went in and Gordon continued, “I bought the birds from a boy who said they couldn't sing, but did you hear how they sang when they were released.  They sang, Redeemed! Redeemed!  Redeemed!  We were redeemed in the blood of Jesus, because of God's love.”  What a wonderful story to share.  And you know, we were purchased at a prize that asked everything from God.  We rejoice about Love That Came down At Christmas.  On this Christmas Eve we bow before our Newborn King and we praise Him that Redeeming Love was perfected in Him.