The Agape Love of God
Christ Is Here! Alleluia!
December 25, 2017 – The Birth of Christ
4 “But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” ~ Titus 3:4-7 (NRSVACE)
Merry Christmas my brothers and sister! May the love of our eternal father rest upon you today like no other day in our earthly calendar! For today we hold within our hearts the great hope for salvation made flesh, the great charity of forgiveness made into everlasting grace, and the agape love of God showered upon us cleansing our sinful hearts through the birth of Christ and the renewal of our faith through the Holy Spirit!
If you have followed me this year you will have read about an intricate plan skillfully crafted and executed by our eternal Father who out of unconditional love chose to forgive us, (all of humanity), our sins. You will have read about grace, charity, and mercy; a love story on an epic scale greater than anything we could have ever done on our own. The level of sacrifice and unconditional love exhibited by God can never be measured or outdone by man. For this plan of God’s cost Him much and is the eternal investment which speaks of an undeniable desire to have a relationship with all of us. At the heart of God’s plan was to bear the hardships personally, to walk in our shoes, emulate our sufferings, experience the daily grind of our life ultimately seeing the world through our eyes in order to suffer and to die for our sins which we could have never washed away on our own. A love story that all too often is more like a one-way street when we petty humans reject God, but this never deturs Him, no our Father’s desire is so lasered focused He keeps knocking at the doorway of our heart continually offering us His unshakable love. So my brothers and sisters, when I say Christmas is a love story on an epic scale, one which gives us the gift of salvation, a monumental gift of grace and mercy, and a gift which is its own economy greater in value than any monetary system we could ever invent – know that my words are sincere; for God did not have to do any of these things. Rather, He could have just started over casting us aside with as little effort as like squashing an ant underfoot. For I say unto you, my brothers and sisters, each day is not promised and each breathe is a precious gift from God. Therefore, for God to have sent His only son Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour was the greatest act of mercy and charity; the greatest gift our loving Father could have bestowed upon us.
The Birth of Our Saviour
15 “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” ~ Luke 2:15-20 (NRSVACE)
Over the last four weeks we prepared for this event, we made ready for the coming of Jesus, but in retrospect, very few people really knew what was going on at the time of Christ’s actual birth over two thousand years ago. Think about it, Mary and Joseph were made part of the plan at the enunciation then their collective families were told after the shocking news that Mary was pregnant. Then Mary’s cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist knew when Mary visited her. The three wise men who watched the stars and read scripture put two and two together and began a long harsh journey following an astronomical event only to make King Herod aware by asking him if he knew anything about the coming Messiah. The shepherds became
aware only because they were told by angels from heaven. It’s ironic really when you look at it from this perspective because only a handful of people knew and out of these people how many really believed that indeed this was the coming of the Messiah? I mean everyone in Judea was waiting for a savior, but few knew and witnessed it in person and from this handful of people the word was spread. From this humble of beginnings, Jesus would grow up in a world who largely was unaware and in disbelief even though the Lord was standing right in front of them. So, my brothers and sisters, how lucky we are today too have the benefit of our faith without having seen the nativity first hand, how much more meaningful is it to know Jesus within our hearts first before knowing Him in Heaven? For truly I say to you that we know and love Jesus Christ through the experience and blessings poured out overuse through the works of the Holy Spirit which in and of itself is the true agape love of God at work as we celebrate this Holiest of Days.
Rejoice for the Lord is Here!
Let Us Pray
God, come to my assistance.
– Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen Alleluia.
Canticle of Zachariah
Ant. Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth, alleluia.
Intercessions: The Word of God existed before the creation of the universe yet was born among us in time. We praise and worship him as we cry out in joy:
‘Let the earth ring out with joy for you have come.’
You are the eternal Word of God who flooded the world with joy at your birth,
– fill us with joy by the continuous gift of your life.
You saved us and by your birth revealed to us the covenant faithfulness of the Lord,
– help us to be faithful to the promises of our baptism.
You are the King of heaven and earth who sent messengers to announce peace to all,
– let our lives be filled with your peace.
You are the true vines that brings forth the fruit of life,
– make us branches of the vines, bearing much fruit.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
May your Christmas be filled with joy everlasting as you spend time with your family and friends on this most Holy of Days. Rejoice in this unfathomable gift from God we receive on this day of Christs Birth, for into the world did He come, on our behalf to give us the hope of life everlasting.
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