1 John 4:7-16 (NIV)Dear Jack, Max and Charlie,
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
On this Christmas Day, and in this Christmas season, I want you to remember this truth: God is love. Love comes from God, and therefore we are called to love others. This is not always easy, but just remember how hard it must be for God to love us sometimes, and yet God never stops. If God can love you and me no matter what, then surely we can love each other — and not just the people we’re supposed to love, but everyone, everywhere, always.
God sent Jesus to us on Christmas. He lived for us and he died for us. For each of you, for me and your mom, your grandparents, aunts and uncles — for everyone who believes. And when we believe, when we ask Jesus to live in our hearts forever, He will help us love with God’s love and let us be a shining light in the world for all to see.
I’m sure this doesn’t make a ton of sense to you guys, especially since only one of you can read. But I’m trying to find a way to let you know just how much I love you, just how important it is to me to have the chance to be your dad. Maybe some day you’ll grow up and get married and have kids and start to see how being a dad makes your whole life different forever. Hopefully long before then you’ll come to understand what a difference it can make to feel God’s love and how the world looks when you live with God’s love inside your heart, soul and mind.
It’s my job to teach you about those things. It’s my job to show you love so you know what it means and so you can share with others. I also need to protect you and feed you and get you to school on time and pay the electric bill and change the radio station if it's playing a song with bad words and remind you to zip up your pants and tell you to give your mom a hug and say “I’m sorry” when you screw up and not spend a lot of time with people who treat you badly and about a million other things. But most of all I need to show you love.
I want you to love God and to know how much God loves you. And the same goes for me and Mom. I want you to love each other. I want you to have a happy life, to chase your wildest dreams and never forget what home feels like. I want you to have your own families some day, and I want to be around to see it all happen and to tell your kids all of the funny stories I’ve been saving up about what their dads were like as little boys.
I want you to trust God to love you always. I want you to remember that nothing on this Earth, nothing in this life, is bigger than God’s love. That doesn’t mean life will be easy. It can be pretty rough some times, and things can seem pretty dark. But there will always be God’s light there to show you a path to follow. And I want you to do just that, to walk in that light and go wherever it takes you. At the end of it all, we’ll be together with God, forever, lost in wonder, love and praise. Don’t ever forget: God is love.
A prayer for December 25:
Lord, on this Christmas night, I thank you for your love that know no bounds. The joy of Heaven brought to Earth in Jesus is the greatest of gifts. Breathe your loving spirit into me, God, that I may live fully in that love, that I may share that love with others and that all may know of your power, your glory, your endless compassion for all of creation. Please let the joy of Christmas live in my heart every day as it does at this very moment. Thank you. Amen.