It’s probably the weakest word in the English language.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s meaningful.  That’s the problem: it’s too full of meaning.

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  • “I love my job.”
  • “I love my pet.”
  • “I love my spouse.”
  • “I love my church.”
  • “I love shopping.”
  • “I love my readers.”
  • “I love Christmas.”
  • “I love Jesus.”
  • “Jesus loves me.”

See what I mean?  Same word; very different meanings.  Its lack of specificity makes it a weak word.

Then we come to the fourth week of Advent where we focus on “love.”  What do we mean by that?

To begin that answer, let’s reflect on verse 2 and chorus 2 of “Oh Holy Night:”

Verse 2
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from Orient land
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our Friend

Chorus 2
He knows our need
To our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King
Before Him lowly bend
Behold your King
Before Him lowly bend

“O Holy Night”
Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam, John Sullivan Dwight, and Placide Cappeau
Public Domain

That is REAL LOVE. The Lord knew our need and came to us.

We were so sinful, dirty, filthy, and unworthy in the eyes of our perfect Lord that we could not reach Heaven.  And so, in unfathomable, unimaginable, unexplainable love to humanity, the Son of God entered His creation and with Him, pulled Heaven down to us.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, understood this profound love.  In her psalm of praise to the Lord, we read in Luke 1:46-55:

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”  

Luke 1:46-55
New International Version
Image courtesy of Igniter Media

In this final week of Advent, consider that level of love.  Reflect that kind of love to the Lord and let His love shine through you.  Bask in His love for you because He shows His love for “us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  You didn’t love Him first; He loved you first…and He loves you best.  That’s real love.

One more thing: most of us have Christmas Day off of work.  We enjoy the warmth of our homes with our family and friends.  There are some people, however, that still have to work.  In order to have a society, people in law enforcement, fire and rescue, and hospitals still have to show up, clock in, and do their job with excellence—when they’d rather be home like us. 

Can you show them some of God’s real love?  Take a basket of goodies to them on Christmas morning.  My family and I have done this for years and the look on their faces is such a reward.  Can you imagine what would happen if everyone who reads this shows up on Christmas Day at their police stations, fire houses, and hospitals (probably the ER) with a basket of snacks and treats just to say, “Thank you”?  We would make a powerful statement of God’s love for others. 

I’m in for that.  Are you?