Love is the reason behind creation and salvation. Divine love so encompassing that it had to be shared. We have been reminded of hope in Jesus as the forerunner who goes ahead of us into the unknown. And we’ve thought again of the peace that guards hope when we stay close to Jesus. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23) This morning I turned to a page in a little book my Mom gave me years ago, “P.S. God Loves You!” to the page that Scripture was on. It said on the page, “Do not let go of the hope you cherish and confess. Seize it and hold it tight. Put your hope in what I have promised you; for I am reliable, trustworthy, and faithful to My Word.”

The peace that guards that hope can only be found in Jesus, when we trust in Him. Those long ago in the Bible waited on the Lord’s timing for the Messiah. Two thousand years ago Jesus was born, and one long wait ended for generations who looked for His birth, which is what we celebrate this Christmas season. He died, rose, and returned to the Father with the promise that He would be back. They waited, and now we wait for Him to come again.

Waiting would become impossible if we didn’t know the One Who holds the promise. We don’t see Him face-to-face; still, we know enough of His love and what He has already done to trust that He is in the process of making all things new. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).

Through Jesus we learn that love does the hard best thing. Love sacrifices and challenges. Love leads with hope and guards peace and protects joy. And love rejoices in faith as it waits well. This love is ours because of Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

As we gather with friends and family to celebrate His birth, let’s remember that Jesus did not show His great love for us because we were friendly with Him, but just because our Father and Jesus love us. We aren’t always lovable, and neither are those who we will gather with. As we think of His sacrifice because of His great love for us, let us: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Col. 3:12-14) For this is God’s will, that we love one another. Jesus gave us the perfect example of forgiveness as He hung on the cross: “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” (Luke 23:34) Realizing God’s infinite love and forgiveness can help us love and forgive others. Let God worry about the wrongs you have suffered. Don’t quench the love in your life in bitter feuding; live renewed in love and joy!