I stood in the driveway as if I was living an out of body experience. I had just walked to my car after visiting with my then new boyfriend of about a couple months. As I opened the car door to get in, I heard the words, “I love you”. “What did you say?” I asked. I know that we both heard the words but I am not too sure who was more surprised by what was said and heard. Although it came as a surprise, it was welcomed. I smiled all the way home and also felt right. I felt a sense of security. I knew that God was doing something and there was no turning back. That boyfriend is now my husband of 19 years and I could not be more in love! Our love continues to grow. When we started out, we said I love you not knowing what the future held. Our love was a growing feeling and yes it was also a choice, but a choice made in the reality we were living at that moment that was good and exciting and without trouble and hardship. Marriage has shown us that as our love continues it is more of a choice than a feeling, especially through trouble and hardship, of which we have experienced a lot. I am blessed that we have kept our commitment to each other. I know of many who would have said, “If I knew then what I knew now, I don’t know if I could do it.”

Jesus knew what He knew and still did what He did. He left heaven and came to earth and said ‘I love you from the beginning to the end’. What kind of love is this?

We are in the last week of Advent. This is the week to focus on and remember love. Heaven released an amazing gift. Love left and love came.  What amazes me is that love left heaven and came to earth with one reason and purpose. As I think about Christmas, thinking of the cross is unavoidable.

“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.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

We celebrate Christmas only because of LOVE. We sing, we exchange gifts, we eat and party but there is a tear in Baby Jesus’ eyes because He loved so much, because he was committed to the hard road, He already knew He was going to live and walk. He knew He was born die. His birth and His death cannot be separated. They are connected in purpose. The ultimate love sacrifice began when Jesus was spoken into Mary’s womb. God so loved the world- He didn’t give up His son on the cross but gave him up when Mary was with child. In fact, He gave His son long before we saw it, when He came up with His plan of redemption. Jesus lay down His life saying yes to the Father’s will and considered me a friend before I could even accept His friendship. Christ died for me a sinner by choice before the plan unfolded. What kind of love is this?

As Phil Wickham reminds us, His love is greater. His love is stronger. His love should awaken us. Barbara Mandrell reminds us that while the earth is filled with gladness, the heaven’s weep – They see- They know the truth- He was born to die for me, for you. Those precious baby hands and feet would be nailed to a tree. Jesus knew what He knew and still did what He did. He left heaven and came to earth and said I love you from the beginning to the end. What kind of love is this?

It is love planned. Love in spite of. Love because of. Love unconditional. Love far reaching. Love fulfilled. Love promised and love kept.  This Christmas may we draw even closer to love, in front of the tree and bowed before the cross. May we receive all the love God gave and continues to give as our most treasured gift this season.