How To Receive God’s Love

How To Receive God’s Love

If you know me, you know I love nativity sets. Our house is full of them. That’s probably because years ago, I mentioned this to my church, and we got an explosion of sets for Christmas!

One of the things I love most about the nativity is its history. It originated in 1224, when St. Francis of Assisi prepared the first live one near a cave in Italy.

His reasoning was not for them to become popular nor for him to make some extra cash. He created it because he noticed something about people’s hearts. He realized that though people may be good at giving and receiving love from others during the Christmas season, they seemed to have lost sight of how to give and receive it from the ultimate source of love— God.

Not only was that the reason the first nativity was formed, but it was also the reason the first advent was formed. So that we could prepare our hearts to receive and give the love of Christ well. Through the advent, we find that Jesus came for several reasons. Last week we talked about the first— certain hope. This week we’ll focus on another— committed love.

John 3:16 is probably the most quoted verse in the Bible, because it shows God’s love well, in just one verse. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

That’s real love. Jesus sacrificed His life, so that we would know it fully. But it’s not enough to just know this. Like with any love, we must decide to receive it. We can choose how much love we accept, and in turn, how much our Father can bless us.

How do we receive it well? In Matthew 11, Jesus tells us, by comparing two people who taught it— Him and John the Baptist.

He says that John brought a “funeral” message, one that says that we have to repent and kill off sinful ways in order to receive God’s love. Then He brought the “wedding” message, one that tells of God’s grace and love through any and all circumstances.

Both are right; together they speak the entirety of the message. To receive love well, we must repent, opening up our hearts to make room for God’s love over love for worldly things. Then we must allow Him to fill the empty space.

We can’t be immature, because we think our ways are better than His ways. We can’t be stubborn, pushing away His love in spite of the evidence. We must open ourselves up fully, and when we do our lives will change.

So, this Christmas season, I encourage you to seek out the true reason we celebrate the holiday— the committed love of Christ. Don’t just focus on giving it to people; focus on receiving it from your Heavenly Father. His love never fails… and that is a reason to celebrate!