All His
Off the Wall, December
21, 2012

I was deeply touched recently when I heard a parishioner tell her story about when she was a little girl. She, like me, had a lemonade stand. But unlike me, she did not squander her income. She saved it. Week after week, it mounted. Finally, when it grew to a substantial amount, she used it for its intended purpose by putting it in an envelope and giving it to her church as her sacrificial love for Jesus Christ. These two words, “sacrificial love,” would go down in history as being very significant.

When Christ was born on Christmas, His name and love became synonymous. Knowing Him also foretells his philosophy. It’s all about a “trueness” of heart.

I’m sure the idea of love was taught prior to his coming to earth, but God’s full understanding of it only became apparent when Our Lord and Savior walked among His creation and taught others all about it.

It’s not hard to bring to mind several of the biblical sayings about the subject at hand – “Love one another as I have loved you,” “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…,” “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my Word…,” and so forth and so on.

Of course, the world has utilized its understanding of the word to its benefit, expressing one’s emotions in many songs in ages past. Those that come to my mind are, “Love Me Tender,” “Love is a Many Splendid Thing,” and “The Ten Commandments of Love.”

There is so much that comes to mind when we think of Christmas. First and foremost is the scriptural story of Mary being told by the Holy Spirit that she, a virgin, would bear a Son, and He would be called Jesus. “How can this be?” she said, “for I have never been with a man.” But, it was through faith and love of God that she would become pregnant and bear a child.

Not permitted to stay at the inn, He was born in a manger surrounded by her faithful husband, Joseph, angels and the animals.

Upon His birth, choirs of angels sung all over the lands of the earth.

And as we know it today, during the Christmas season, family members will come from all parts of the globe to be together to celebrate this festive occasion, exchange presents, and there will be merriment in the air.

“Why the celebration?” one may ask. Easy. Name one other time a child was born from a God-chosen virgin woman? It just can’t be a story of a woman bearing a child, but the beginning of an era made possible by a loving God who wanted the best for His people.

I’ve heard it said that Christmas is no big deal, that Easter is more important. But let me ask this question – Would there be an Easter without Christmas?

Like all of us, we were born to die, but Christ took on one unique feature. He, an innocent human being, would become the sacrificial lamb by dying on the cross to free us from our sinfulness. If one cannot fathom such love, he better think again. That sacrificial love that the parishioner talked about can be applied here. She sacrificed all she took in and gave it to the Church, the body of Christ. He gave us everything He had – His life. What more could He give?

Yes, Christmas is certainly a joyous time of year. Genuine love was born. Through Christ’s teachings we would learn what was meant by forgiveness instead of revenge, unconditional love, rather than a superficial relationship linked by conditions, and a love blessed with unselfishness rather than one coupled with, “What’s In It for Me?”

To have such an attitude without a relationship with Jesus Christ is difficult, indeed.

Why avoid the One who loves you, not inviting Him into your life? It makes no sense to me why some people who have proven themselves very successful, and intelligent, to boot, refuse to accept Christ into their lives. The Master of love wants to be a part of all lives, but He is shunned.

This season, call upon the Lord, thanking God for sending the Messiah to not only join us all on earth, but demonstrate to us what true love is with emphasis on sacrificial love.

May each of you have a very blessed Christmas.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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