Friday , April 16 2021

The Greatest Love Story

By Jodi Thomas
The Greatest Love StoryWe all love a great Love Story.  You’ve Got Mail.  Pretty Woman.  Cinderella.  Pride and Prejudice.  There’s just something about these stories when the rich guy falls head over heals for the not-so-rich girl.  And yet, there’s an even greater love story where the hero left it all—for you and for me.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:6
I’m sure you already know this, but Jesus showing up as the babe in the manger was not the first time he appeared on the scene.  Jesus, the King of Kings, was in heaven with the Father—in absolute position, power, rule, reign, wealth, luxury, majesty, and on and on.  And yet, because the Father loved us, he sent His Son, “that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  The Prince became the pauper.  Jesus left it all—for us.  God humbled Himself to become a helpless baby, born not into royalty and luxury, but to ordinary, blue collar parents, Joseph and Mary (Philippians 2:6-8).   Creator of the Universe— knit together in Mary’s womb—born not in a palace, but a borrowed stable.  He grew up a blue collar life, in a dinky little town.  Eventually he left that dinky little town, and became homeless by choice, teaching about the Kingdom of God, healing, loving, and serving wherever he went. . . only to be misunderstood, rejected, mocked, betrayed, and ultimately executed.  The hands that healed and blessed were nailed to a cross, by the very people He came for.  Why?  Why would he be willing to do this?  Because he loves us—and he wants us to have it all, to be rich.  No, I’m not talking Powerball rich.  I’m talking true riches.  If we choose Christ, Ephesians 1:3 says we have “every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  This means joy, grace, hope, faith, peace, healing, favor, righteousness in God’s eyes, an eternal inheritance—and most of all—the gift of eternal life is ours in Christ.  Sinners, stuck in sin, stuck in lying, hatred, jealousy, unforgiveness, gossip, slander, abuse, addiction, selfishness, pride, arrogance, immorality, idolatry—you name it. . . loved and forgiven by God and granted eternal life.   The Prince of heaven set his sights on us—little street urchins of sin—and came after us.  He left it all, to give all to us.
And yet, even with these riches, life is hard.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.  My friend’s husband just left her.  Another friend fumbles through Christmas while grieving over her mother dying from ALS earlier this year.  Another friend battles cancer—for the 9th year.  Oh, and he just had a heart attack.  And a stroke.  All of these people know and love Jesus.  Just because you’re in the romance, doesn’t mean life is a fairy tale.  But it does mean, that no matter what you face and no matter your failures, you are always loved and He is always with you.  He is Immanuel—God with us.  So even through great suffering, He is with us, giving us His Riches—His peace, grace, mercy, and strength. . . and best of all—Himself.
We get inoculated from the Christmas story because we’ve heard it so many, many times.  But we all need to take some time pondering—pondering the mystery and magnificence of God becoming a baby, to come after me and you—solely because He loves us.  As much as some of us love all the Christmas hubbub, Christmas isn’t about gifts, Christmas trees, or that dadgum Elf-on the Shelf (may “Elfie” rest in peace, since he has been banished from our house due to parental overload). . . it’s about a passionate God pursuing you and me.  And that no matter what we go through, He is with us.  And unlike all those awesome chick flicks, our Prince of Love gave it all—even his very life—to be with us, forever.
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