Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
At Christmas, it is easy to lose sight of the gift of receiving love. We enjoy blessing others, and rightly we should. We send Christmas cards, we wrap presents, we give gift cards, we bake, and we decorate. Some of us even move a tiny Elf around our house in the wee hours of the morning to see the delight in our children’s eyes. We are called to love and to bless, and at Christmas, we do this well, but how often do we rest and receive during this season? Sometimes it is easier to give than to receive, and yet, receiving is really what Christmas time is all about. 1 John 4:10 reminds us that love is about God loving us first—not about us loving Him first. He initiated a loving relationship with us—a love manifested in sending Jesus to die for the sins we committed. In a culture obsessed with our achievements and our striving, it is easy to get this confused. We can fool ourselves into believing that all of our frantic gifting and giving at Christmas time is what love in this season looks like—us loving, us giving, us blessing,—and while it isn’t wrong to love, to give, to bless, we miss the mark if we don’t take time to receive and to acknowledge that it is God’s love for us that we celebrate. In these last few days before Christmas, may remember that God loved us first.