Christmas: 24 Days and Counting - Love Came Down at Christmas

There are some songs at this time of year that just haunt me. No matter how many other songs I hear, sing or dream of, this one just won't quit. Something about the melody that plays over and over in my head, not so much like a broken record, because I really like it. The song is Love Came Down at Christmas, by Jars of Clay:

Love came down at Christmas
Love, a lovely love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Stars and angels gave the sign

Love will be our token
Love be yours, and love be mine
Love from God to all of us
Love for plea and gift a sign

Love for the 10 commandments
Love for the 9 that dress so fine
Love for the 8 that stood at the gate
Love for the 7 who went up to Heaven
Love for the 6 that never got fixed
Love for the 5 that stayed alive
Love for the 4 that stood at the door
Love for the Hebrew children
Love from the little babe, baby

I have a suspicion the reason I'm drawn to it might be the message nested inside these verses. But in a strange twist, my brain goes to this question. If God sent Jesus to show us His love and all of what that was all about, then how did God show love to the world before this time?

Some people might say the God in the Old Testament wasn't so loving when you consider all the rules, judgments, punishments, using armies to kill people, or sending a flood to destroy mankind. Doesn't sound like any kind of love that we recognize. Examples and stories tell of God connecting with humans by a pillar of fire, a loud voice or a burning bush. No man could ever see God or any part of Him and live. In fact, touching something that He deemed sacred could get you killed! (as in the story of those touching the Ark of the Covenant. Yes, the very one that Indiana Jones searched for! LOL) God surely doesn't seem all warm and fuzzy or cuddle-up-in-my-lap kind of God, for that matter.

But if we zoom out, we see that God showed love to man in a number of ways. One He created man. Duh! Even an artist loves their own creations, so can you imagine creating a human? And for what purpose? Many biblical scholars and teachers would agree, God wanted companionship. So, He created humans. Then, second, He created this ginormous place for them to live. A little overkill for just a couple of humans, right? But he had a bigger plan, telling them to be fruitful and multiply, and having provided every single thing they could ever need to sustain life. Well, we know how that turned out, with them being thrown out of there spacious, plush surroundings because of some really bad choices, then their children killing each other, then the whole world escalated to being a really evil place. Humans just didn't get it. Something was missing.

During the time of the flood, God did a loving thing by destroying all the evil and saving the righteous on a boat. He saved the Israelites, His chosen people, by destroying the evil armies and releasing them from slavery. He guided them into an amazing place to reside as He promised. That sounds like a loving God doesn't it, sort of?

All along, He had promised a way out. He knew from the beginning that a way would have to be provided for these humans to be back in His companionship. You see, everyone was now separated from Him by this bad thing called sin. God hates that. (Now I know where I get it. Separation anxiety is definitely something I struggle with!)

Anyway, enter Jesus onto the scene. He was God in the flesh, a human, on earth walking around, within arms length to give you a hug or a pat on the back, or gaze adoringly into your eyes to let you know that He deeply loved and cared for you. This was God? Yes, Emmanuel, or as the name means "God with us." Wow, some difference. So, did God know that what was missing for humans to understand His love, was that human touch and close proximity, and that it was absolutely necessary to get that message across? Did He realize the value of sitting across the table at a meal, working alongside someone, laughing, crying, sharing life together enough to send His son to do that? He sent Jesus with a message that all would be well with the earth, that one day there would be no more tears, no sadness, no evil. Only love.

With Him, He sent the message that forgiveness and grace were the ultimate gifts He wanted to give us. He sent Jesus to save us. To rescue us. God threw us a life-preserver, with a promise that for the rest of time, and beyond, we would be in His company and in relationship. That all sounds like love to me. And it was meant for anyone and everyone. God wants that no one perish. John 10 says: I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

So, at Christmastime, it's no wonder that Jesus was born, started out as a baby. Who isn't immediately endeared to babies? The love can hardly be contained. It just grew from there. But this baby was no ordinary baby. He was born, with a mission to save the world. He embodied the love of God and lathered the earth with enough of that love to save it. So love did come down from heaven, in the only way it could, through this person named Jesus, who was God. Wow.

Your assignment (and mine): during this season, find the love, and in whatever shape or form it presents itself, remember where it came from.

If you haven't heard the song, here's the official video:

Love Came Down at Christmas - Jars of Clay Video