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1 John 4:7-12

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. 8 The person who does not love does not know Godbecause God is love. 9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any timeIf we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Love can be so complicated here on earth.  Defining love even more so.  We freely say we “love this or that”, or love someone, but often do not know what love requires.  For Christ, it required His very life, offered freely.  Love can be messy with imperfect beings and demand a persistence and long suffering which are of divine origin. We are truly incapable of real love apart from Jesus.  Christ demonstrated a radical love which is unparalleled.  He did not see if we would return it first, or give it conditionally.  He lavishly poured His love out on all who would receive it.

How do we access this kind of love if we are not capable of it on our own?  By asking Love Himself.  We can come to Him in our deficiency and ask Him to help us love like He did.  That is a prayer He hears and answers with a “yes”!  But we must be willing to lay down the grievances and understand that real love is completely unselfish.  We cannot go into it wanting something from the other person.  Christ certainly modeled that kind of love for us.

How much this world needs to see this kind of love lived out in each of us who have placed our faith in Jesus.  Even more, the world needs to see us loving one another – truly loving one another.  This means setting aside our judgments, even when we might be accurate in them.  It means choosing to love unconditionally, despite someone not deserving it.  Love considers the other one as more important and believes the best.  It is not without healthy boundaries and is not a doormat.  Sometimes it might be tough and seem uncaring, but real love always hopes and perseveres.  Just as love was revealed in Christ, in can be revealed in us.

Lord, this Christmas season, thank for your showing us what it means to really love one another.  Forgive us when we do not love and help us to learn more of what love looks like through Your eyes.

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