ADVENT WEEK 4 – LOVE
Love is the greatest of all the virtues on the Advent wreath and encompasses Jesus’ entire purpose for being on earth. Christ connects all the Advent candles. Through him, we can have hope, peace, joy, and love.1
“It was a holy night. God’s glory came to earth and wrote a love letter to the world in the form of a newborn baby.”2 “God made His love visible.”3
And certainly the greatest truth about Christmas is that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Christmas is really the effect of which God’s love is the cause. God’s love for mankind then is evident in the offer of the gospel to all people. And the path to the gospel has been given to everybody.4
This was the most loving act ever performed in history, for there has never been and can never be a gift greater than the life of the Son of God given for the “sins of the whole world.” Without God’s Spirit indwelling them, people cannot look to the love they have for others or even the “love” they have for God as an example to be emulated for we are born self-centered and remain so unless the Holy Spirit changes our hearts.5
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son” (1 John 4:10 ESV).
Christian love comes from God Himself. This love is not natural to fallen humanity. It originates in God and is a divine gift to His people. When we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given a capacity for this supernatural love that has God as its source and foundation. [N]ot every human being who loves another is born of God. The kind of love of which he speaks comes only from regeneration. Without the Holy Spirit’s transformation of the human heart, no one has this capacity for love. No unregenerate person has this kind of love, and no regenerate person lacks such love. Therefore, a person who does not have the ability to love in the way John describes has not been born again. “Anyone who does not love [in this manner] does not know God.”6
The Father sent his Son to make his worst enemies into beloved children, and yet he’s crowded out by other, more earthly details — the kind of details that can be finely painted on ornaments. [W]e have an almighty Father of infinite wisdom and relentless love, a Father who authored that first Christmas and every one since. Nothing compares to the Creator of the universe sending the radiance of his own glory, the exact imprint of his nature, into his creation. Let Christmas remind you that the Son was sent, in love, from heaven, and that you are sent, in love, on earth.7
(4) GOD Came to Us
1. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Love and the Christ Candle for Advent. Week 4,” 21 October 2020, Christianity, 26 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-love-and-the-christ-candle-for-advent-week-4.html.
2. Matt Tullos, “Advent Devotional (Week 5): Christ,” 25 November 2015, Lifeway, 26 March 2021 https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/devotions-christmas-advent-week-five-christ.
3. Mary Brack, “Advent Week 4: Love,” 18 December 2016, Grace Church, 26 March 2021 http://gracetoledo.org/2016/12/advent-week-4-love/.
4. John MacArthur, “The Love of God, Part 1” 4 Dec 1994, Grace to You, 22 October 2021 https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-77/the-love-of-god-part-1.
5. “The True Love of God” 2 June 2010, Grace to You, 22 October 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/true-love-god.
6. R.C. Sproul, “The Holy Love of God” 25 June 2014, Ligonier, 22 October 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/holy-love-god.
7. Marshall Segal, “The Forgotten Giver of Christmas” 5 December 2020, Desiring God, 22 October 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-forgotten-giver-of-christmas.
8. Quina Aragon, “Advent Week 4: A Savior is Born,” 16 December 2020, Christianity Today, 31 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-4-savior-is-born.html.
9. Frederick M. Lehman, “The Love of God,” 1917, Hymnary, 31 March 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/the_love_of_god_is_greater_far.