Love Came Down at Christmas

Today’s verse is very familiar. Most people have heard it, even those who are not Believers. Our verse today is John 3:16. Almost everyone has memorized this verse, and I think it has become so familiar that we don’t even think about the significance of it. We rattle it off, not even thinking about how wondrous it is. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (NASB) Most people wouldn’t associate this verse with Christmas, but it ties in more than we may realize.

When I was a teenager, I sang in our Christmas Cantatas at church every Christmas. It was a family tradition. My parents, when he was old enough, my brother, and I. My sister wasn’t old enough to participate, and at the time, she wasn’t interested. I come from a musical family. My parents started their teaching careers as music teachers, my uncle was a band director for elementary and high school, my aunt played many instruments, including the organ at her church. My grandmother played piano for her church. Many times, my parents and I would sing trios for special music at church. When I married my first husband, we would do quartets with my folks. So, music is very important to me, especially Christian music.

One Christmas Cantata we did had a song called, “Love Came Down at Christmas.” It told of how God sent Jesus, His Son, to be born as a baby, to live, and to die on a cross, because of His great love for us. If it wasn’t for the virgin birth of Jesus, there would be no Easter, and without Easter, there would be no need for Christmas. The cross and the manger are tied together.

In my Bible Journaling, I love how the name of Jesus is written in the form of a cross. It’s part of a kit in this series, and I felt it was fitting to include it in the manger scene. God so loved that Jesus came. He came, not as a King with great fanfare, but He came as a baby, someone who entered this world in the most unassuming way. Only a few knew Who He was.

I think sometimes, we leave Him in the manger as a little baby and forget that He grew up to be a man, a man who would die for the world, as a sacrifice for our sins. He lived a sinless life, showed us how to live, taught us about God’s character, and above all, He loved us “with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

I’m so glad that He didn’t stay that baby in a manger. I’m glad that He lived and walked on this earth, experienced the things we do, knows and understands our thoughts, our feelings, our struggles, and our joys. I’m so grateful for His sacrifice for our sins; I’m grateful for His forgiveness, and I’m grateful for His love. Love Came Down at Christmas!

This Blood

I am deviating from our study on grace for a moment, but in reality, God’s grace is plainly shown in our journaling for today. We just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. During our Easter service at my church our worship team did a song called, “This Blood.” I woke this morning with that song running in my mind. Take a listen:

As I thought about the words and heard the song in my head, I began to get an image in my mind, one of my sin being covered by Jesus’ blood, no longer to be remembered or to be charged against me. The image was so powerful to me that I knew I had to journal it in my Bible. So, I searched for a Scripture that would express what I was feeling. I came upon John 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” (KJV) The thing that hits me is that when Jesus died on the cross, He did it willingly because of His great love and grace toward me. As I am sitting here listening to the song, I can’t help but be completely in awe of what Jesus has done for me. He has forgiven me of every sin I have ever committed or ever will commit. He has welcomed me into His family. He has become my Best Friend, He is my Healer, He loves me unconditionally, and He beckons me to have a relationship with Him.

The Scripture reference highlights for me that nothing more is needed to be done. Jesus finished the work assigned to Him to bring about my salvation. Nothing more is needed, not from Him, and most certainly not from me, because there is nothing I can do to purchase my salvation, only Jesus was the perfect sacrifice! The old hymn, “Nothing but the Blood”, says it all…” What can wash away my sin…nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again…nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Not only did He die for my sins, He rose from the grave three days later and conquered sin, death, and the grave! That gives me hope (confidence). A hope that one day I will also rise again and be joined with Him in the sky to go Home to Heaven! I have nothing to fear because He will walk with me through death.

What can be more precious than that? To walk through a time that can be fearful, with your Best Friend who will bring comfort and strength just as He has done your entire life. Peace beyond anything we can even imagine overflows our hearts and souls at the thought of being with Jesus.

This morning, my heart overflows with love for my Lord and Savior! I am so grateful for His salvation, His love, His friendship, and His leadership. “This Blood” is so precious to me!

Because of Love

 

Today I’m focusing on the Easter season with this being Passion Week. Friday is Good Friday, where we remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. His sacrifice was accomplished because of His love for us, and because of His great grace that has been bestowed upon us in that, He took the punishment for our sins. He was the only perfect sacrifice to fulfil the requirement of death as payment.

As we look at the entire 19th chapter of John, we are taken through Jesus trial, scourging, death, burial, and resurrection. I can’t help but think that the Easter account is not just about Jesus dying for us, but it also is about how He conquered sin, death, and the grave. Jesus loved us so much that He willingly endured the pain of being crucified, the most painful death one can imagine, to take our place so that we would not have to pay the requirement of death for our sins.

John 3:16 is probably the most recognized Scripture in the Bible. Most people can recite it without difficulty. I wonder though how many realize just what that verse means, and do they believe it? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) God’s love for us is so vast, it is hard for mere humans to comprehend. He willingly gave His Son up to die for us. I don’t know many people who would willingly give their lives for another, especially someone they don’t even know. But God loves us all, He created us, and He wants us to have a relationship with Him. Through Jesus death on the cross, that relationship can be achieved.

How? By accepting Jesus as personal Savior. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (CSB) Every person born is born into sin because of Adam, and the relationship with God has been severed. There is a punishment for that sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (CSB) God provided a means of escape, a plan, to save us from the penalty of sin. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (KJV)

I Corinthians 15:3-6 says, “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” (KJV) Jesus not only died for our sins and was buried, He was resurrected again to life, conquering death and the grave. We have nothing to fear because of this. Death and the grave has no power over those who trust in Jesus as Savior.

The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the way, the truth, and he life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (KJV) John 1:12 explains that, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (KJV) When we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, we become children of God, He takes us into His family.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (KJV) We have no claim to our salvation, because we cannot in ourselves be saved. Nothing we can do can ever pay for our sins. Only Jesus can save us. All we need do is ask Jesus to save us. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (KJV)

The process of salvation is simple, even a child can ask Jesus to come into their heart and save them. All we must do is ask forgiveness of our sins, invite Him into our hearts, and promise to follow Him, make Him Lord of our lives, and endeavor to live a holy life. We can rejoice because we have eternal life because of Jesus! He is Risen!