is All Around
A Collection of Reflections about Love at Christmas
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
You may recognize Hugh Grant’s opening speech of the Christmas film, Love Actually,
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the Arrivals Gate at Heathrow airport.
“Before the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate and revenge – they were all messages of love.
Love At Christmas: Christmas love is certainly
stirred by the sentiment of the season, anticipation of the holiday, and the
security of traditions. But, there is
more, much more. The heart of love at
Christmas is the gift of God in Jesus.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (John 3:16-17, the Message).
Love Came Down: A beautiful poem captures the meaning of God’s gift of Christmas love. The words are from the pen of Christina Rossetti, Love Came Down At Christmas:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
Love for plea – God’s love in Jesus is intent on liberating creation. He will “‘wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Love for gift – God’s love in Jesus is the gift of forgiveness of sin, the gift of adoption into God’s family, and the gift of righteousness, imparted by the Holy Spirit.
Love for sign – God’s love in Jesus is the sign that He is at work in Christ and through the Holy Spirit, pushing back the darkness. When the world feels broken, the smallest act of love is the sign of God’s faithfulness.