Do You Have A “Loved One?”
Christmas is one of those times when we look forward to sharing with “loved ones.” What is a “loved one?”
He is someone we care about deeply.
She is a close relative.
“Loved ones” are precious, valued and trusted. Some have passed from this life. Others live miles away. But all of them are forever in our hearts.
Sometimes the term “loved ones” appears in the context of a disaster. When others lose family members we huddle close with our “loved ones.” They become more precious than ever because something has reminded us the people we care about are more important than anything: our schedules, our possessions, our careers, and even our very lives. This is why Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
As we near our Christmas celebrations, I hope you are able to spend time with family members and close friends. If people dear to you has passed away recently, I pray God will comfort you and fill you with His assurance and peace.
And there is something else I want to encourage you to try. I know Christmas is a busy time, and we all have our traditions. The last thing we want is another responsibility!
But here goes:
I want to encourage you to look for God’s “loved one.” Our church family has been praying for “one”. God has been working providentially in our lives to bring us into contact with our “one” or “ones.” As we have discerned His hand moving, we have responded by planting with the love of Jesus, or watering what someone else has already planted.
There are many “ones.” Look into the faces of weary shoppers in the check-out line. Take note of the people you see counting out change to pay for their gas at the convenience store. There are “ones” who live on your street. There are “ones” in your workplace. There are even “ones” sitting near you as you worship with the church.
It’s alright to celebrate God’s blessings in our lives. In fact, “shame on us” if we don’t acknowledge His goodness. On the other hand, Christmas is one of those holidays where it is easy to forget why we are here. God hasn’t blessed us for our own pleasure only. To assume as much is to stumble down the road to self-absorption and self-righteousness. Instead, God has blessed us so we can be a blessing to others.
This brings me back to our “loved ones.” Just as a disaster in others’ livres makes us cling more tightly to our “loved ones,” the thought that anyone would pass from this life without Jesus reminds us we have “loved ones” we don’t know. We must think of God’s “loved ones”. Jesus told us all about them in John 3:16 when He said, “For God so loved the world”.
I know. I know. It seems preachers are always throwing a wet blanket on our celebrations. That isn’t my intent at all. As I have said, if we don’t celebrate God’s blessings in our lives, we should be ashamed.
It’s just that everyone doesn’t know about God’s love or His message of Salvation. Yes, it is true most people have caught bits and pieces of Jesus on the daily news and television comedy skits. They have driven by buildings where His people worship and have seen His name in lights.
But they don’t know they are a “loved one.” Maybe no one has ever loved them with the Lord’s love. Maybe they have been burned by other, misguided, definitions of love.
The only thing we can take with us to heaven is our “loved ones.” His “loved ones.”
Who are the “ones” in you life who need to know the Lord?