Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent Week 4: LOVE

This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God's love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10, NCV)

Here we are at the final week of Advent.  And if you're anything like the typical person, you're feeling your stress rising as you see Christmas closing in.  There may still be presents to be purchased and wrapped, baking to be done, cards to be sent or programs to attend. 

Interestingly, the focus of this week is love.  How appropriate that this theme draws all the other previous three together.  It is in meditating on the enormous love of God that we find hope, peace and joy.  And what a love it is!

I think that no other group of individuals can come close to relating to the Father's love for us quite like parents of children with special needs.  Our job is so often a thankless one.  We hear our children cry out for
help just as Jesus did from the cross, and in a much more heart-piercing way than in the average family.  We parent someone who society so often rejects, just like they did God's only Son.  We not only parent a child, but are often a nurse or technician, going through strict procedures or routines that others could never fathom having to do.  That can even venture into the arena of the disgusting, like having to deal with the toileting issues of older children or other wonderful bodily functions.  And then there can be the behaviors that stand in great defiance of our love.  I know that I have been hit, spit upon and told by my child that they hated me, and yet I still love.  We go through these things which are a strong reflection of God's love for us.

And yet, He loves us even more.  I so often tell parents who are worried about their children to remember that God tells us that He's numbered every hair on their heads. (Luke 12:7)  Even we as concerned parents haven't done that!  God also tells us that He keeps track of our every tear.  (Psalm 56:8)  I don't know about you, but there are times when I have to tune the crying out!

God's love for us and for our children is beyond our fathoming!  Even the most loving person I know would never have their child take the punishment for some ungrateful law-breaker.  And I think Paul sums it up perfectly in Romans 8:32, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (NIV)  This love is so lavish, so abundant, so extravagant that we are truly missing out on something if we don't take the time to bask in it this time of year.

If you are parenting a child with special needs, you have many demands and stressors on your live.  Make time, even if it's only 15 minutes before or after the kids are in bed to relish the love your Father has for you!  Sit in the quiet glow of your home and think on what you've read here.  Nestle in to the comfort of knowing that nothing here on earth could touch the immense love of your Creator.  He's with you in every step you take and will see you through to a glorious finish!

I leave you with a tiny Christmas gift -- A link to help prime the pump of meditating on God's love:

What Wondrous Love is This
Lyrics by Alexander Means, Music by William Walker
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.


When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.


To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

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