December 23, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus is indeed the Word of God made flesh. And he is also the love of God made flesh. Because of what happened at Christmas, we can know God’s love for us, not only as a marvelous idea, but as a person whose birth, life, death, and resurrection reassures us that nothing in all creation will ever separate us from God’s love. Merry Christmas!
Today’s devotion is part of the series Advent for the Children of God.
Today is Christmas Eve. This is the last official day of Advent, a season of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. But on Christmas Eve many of us begin our celebrations of Christmas, letting them spill over into Christmas Day and beyond. (Did you know that in the Christian year, Christmas is a twelve-day season, often called Christmastide?)
In today’s Life for Leaders devotion, I want to finish my Advent-themed study of Romans 8. As it turns out, the final verses of this glorious chapter reflect one of the core truths of Christmas . . . God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. So this devotion appropriately moves from Advent into Christmas.
Romans 8 began with the reassuring good news that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1). Along the way this chapter added even more good news, such as the presence of the Spirit living in us (8:9), the promise that we will one day share in the glorious authority of Christ (8:17), and the fact that God is working for good in all things in partnership with us (8:28).
Then, near the end of the chapter, we learn that the God who gave the Son of God to us is profoundly and eternally on our side (8:31-32). At this point we might wonder—what could possibly be better than this? It seems like the ultimate good news. But Paul has more to offer in the final two verses of Romans 8. As it says in The Message: “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (8:38-39).
This proclamation of God’s love for us concludes Romans 8 in a way that brings supernatural affirmation, confidence, and joy. Though we might sometimes feel as if something has separated us from God’s love, that is simply not true. The fact of God’s love in Christ is something we can count on no matter what we’re experiencing in life.
This love is shown to us in many ways, preeminently in Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. But God’s giving the Son to us in his birth is the beginning of this unique communication of love. Thus, at Christmas we rightly remember and celebrate God’s love for humankind.
The nineteenth-century poet Christina Rossetti represents this reality wonderfully in her poem called “Love Came Down at Christmas”:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
Christina Rossetti captures the heart of Christmas in her poem. Jesus is indeed the Word of God made flesh. And he is also the love of God made flesh. Because of what happened at Christmas, we can know God’s love for us, not only as a marvelous idea, but as a person whose birth, life, death, and resurrection reassures us that nothing in all creation will ever separate us from God’s love. Such amazing love!
Thus, as you come to the end of Advent and begin your celebration of Christmas, know that God loves you more than you can ever fully know. Merry Christmas!
How have you experienced God’s love for you?
If you really believed that God’s love would never leave you, how might your life be different?
In the next couple of days we’ll be celebrating Christmas. Can you think of someone who needs to know God’s love in a special way? Will you pray for that person now? Are you open to being a channel for God’s love to that person?
Gracious God, thank you for your love, your love given to us in Christ, your love that never lets us go. As I celebrate Christmas, may the reality of your love for me fill my heart and change my life. Amen.
Banner image by Khyta on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: The Word Gives Life.
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