In a time of pervasive online connectivity, loneliness plagues our world like never before. Online friendships remain shallow and fail to sate our hunger for empathy and support. Fear tempts us to seek refuge from violence broadcast throughout the world. In the shadow of grim murder stories, we isolate in our homes. Many circulate their apocalyptic suspicions through internet posts, noting the rise in cruelty as evidence. We shiver at the thought of experiencing the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:6-35. The news reports seem to confirm that “the love of most” has grown cold.
Panic aggravates the impact of apparent chaos around us. The worldwide suffering rages beyond our video screens and we hide from the world God might be poised to obliterate. The horrors of the end-times prediction add fuel to the blaze of our circumstantial fears and raze Jesus’ initial words from our minds.
Christ’s first disciples approached a threshold far more momentus than they realized when they asked Him what to expect in the future. We all want God to reveal the future for us. This is likely due to a misconception that knowlege of coming events can afford us comfort through power. Jesus did inform the apostles about the bleak times ahead, but two key points among His first words ring with the greatest significance for them and for us all. Unfortunately, these are the concepts most of us fail to notice when we view this passage from a perspective of fear. “Watch out that no one deceives you … You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed” (Matthew 24:4,6 NIV).
Violence, cruelty, and tragedy have plagued the earth for millenia. The bleak midwinter of the soul has darkened the world for many generations. Christ laid aside his perfect life of solace in heaven to join us in this world of suffering and brutality.
Because the love of One shall never grow cold.
Instead of isolating Himself from the horrors of human life, the Lord birthed Himself among us in the most vulnerable and accessible form possible. He did not retreat or seclude Himself from cruelty. The Christ of Christmas wrapped Love incarnate in the rags of sacrificial lambs. The future lay open before the Son of God, but His heart’s security rested in a Who rather than any manner of Whats. He experienced all our suffering and the greatest brutality earth had to offer. Instead of withholding in fear, Jesus recognized His security in the Father Who supplied Him with infinite love. The Lord ultimately poured Himself out to sate the love-parched souls of earth.
Christmas anchors God’s gift of unchanging love in hearts willing to cling to Christ as their center. Regardless of the turbulent seas of violence and brutality raging around us, He cradles us as the treasure of His heart. [bctt tweet=”The only response to infinite love is love. ” username=”tyeagerwrites”]
When we accept the rag-wrapped gift of Love Himself at Christmas, our call to imitate Him begins. Our engorged spirits experience the compelling of His Spirit–to love others. Love and fear oppose one another, so we must choose. To live as the light of Christ’s love means we must resist the world’s invitation to join its cold windstorms of fear-mongering.
Instead of centering our emotional wellbeing upon circumstances–the whats–we can anchor our hearts upon the ultimate Who. Immanuel’s name serves as our promise. God with us. Love dwelling within us. Our infinite resource eliminates any need for insecurity.
Rather than withdrawing into our homes, love equips us to venture into the world. We carry the blessings of Christmas within us, after all. Ours is the love so desperately needed in this bitterly cruel world. To best celebrate the greatest gift of all, we must pour out our hearts to sate the love-parched souls around us.
This week’s video encourages us to share Christ’s heart this season. Here are a few practical tips to keep in mind as you devote yourself to His generous brand of love this week:
- LISTEN actively. Ask people how they’re really doing, but use voice tone and body language to indicate you expect more than the standard response of “fine.”
- SHARE time.
- SMILE with genuine support for those who need grace.
- FROWN with genuine empathy.
- PRAY with people immediately. If you promise to support them in prayer, make a note to ensure you do so.
- FOLLOW up on those who shared needs.
- CHECK on the grieving, lonely, and struggling.
- VOLUNTEER your TIME to feed the hungry, pray with the outcasts, visit the sick.
- TOUCH people with the genuine love of Christ through a shoulder pat, friendly hug, or grasp of hands.