Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“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?”
This verse is half of a poem written by Christina Rosetti in 1885 and has since been put to music by several different composers. And even as it may not be as popular as many Christmas Carols, it speaks a valuable truth which is well to be remembered at this time and beyond.
Let’s consider a few basic facts from scripture concerning God and Jesus Christ.
1) God is love. It is His mode of operation. He loves all of Creation but has a special affinity for man, whom He made in His image. “He who does not love does not know God for GOD IS LOVE. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:8-9)
2) For sure, the scriptures testify to the judgment and wrath of God on occasion, but this too has been out of His love, for it is meant for correction and redemption. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction. For whom the Lord loves, he corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prov. 3:11-12)
3) It was out of the intense love of the Father that He sent His Son to save us, His wayward children. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
4) The Lord God spoke through His prophets, telling His people that He would send a Messiah, one who is God with us, to lead us and be our Lord and King. “But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands in Judah, yet out or you shall come forth to Me the One who is to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
5. The story of the birth of Jesus, the Son of God is well known; but let’s be reminded of an event that occurred just 40 days after His birth when Mary had been brought to the temple for the rites of purification, and there encountered Simeon. We are told that Simeon was ‘just and devout waiting for the Consolation of Israel,” and the Holy Spirit had assured Him he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ…. “He took the child in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared for all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.’” (Luke 2:25,26; 29-32)
6) Now we fast-forward about 30 years to a moment in time when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring His heart out to His Father in heaven and includes a prayer for all who believe in Him. “O righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and I will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:25-26)
Jesus loves us, this we know. His love is certain and it is eternal. What follows is the rest of the poem.
“Love shall be our token, Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men, Love for plea and gift and sign.
Love shall be our token, Love to God and all men,
Love shall be our token, Love to God and all men.”
Go, in peace to love and serve Your Lord, and love your neighbor as yourself.
(Ref. Mt. 22:37-39)