Advent Devotional: Saturday, December 28

Amber Nash

Saturday, The Third Day of Christmas: Love
December 28, 2013

Scripture: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22: 36-39

During this holiday season it is really easy to focus on the first commandment that Jesus refers to here. After all, everywhere we look there are reminders of our faith, so it is easy to be reminded of our love for God during the Christmas season. However, the second commandment mentioned here is a little more difficult to focus on. Sure, we buy gifts for our friends and family and show love in that way, but I’m not so sure that is who the scripture is referring to when it says “neighbor”. What about those less fortunate than us? The homeless? The outcast? Those living in poverty? The ones we would, if we’re being totally honest, prefer not to associate with – what about them?
The scriptures paint a clear picture of Jesus loving the unlovable – the tax collectors, the lepers, the outcasts of society. If we are truly going to love Jesus with all of who we are, we have to love what/who He loved. That requires giving as He gave – sacrificially and intentionally – not just to those we know and are comfortable with, but to those that God knows and loves –the people He calls us to love – His children.  
So, how do we do this in the midst of this hectic season? Well, I’m not really sure. It could be as simple as dropping some change into those red buckets in front of Wal-Mart, but I think God calls us to do more than just that. If we are really going to love our neighbor as ourself we have to be intentional and driven about it. So, I think we have to reevaluate our giving and caring. I think we have to take a close look at how much time and money we put into the holiday festivities (parties, decorations, gifts, etc.), and we have to ask ourselves, “How can I show those less fortunate that I care just as much about them as I do making sure my house looks festive, or I have the right outfit for the party, or the perfect gift for that someone special?” Then we have to be intentional about following through on our conviction. If we do this, I think we will be getting closer to truly loving our neighbor as ourself.

Prayer: God, Your word calls us to “love with actions and in truth”. Help us to love our neighbors in truth and with our actions this season and all year long. Give us compassion for your children and empathy that comes only from You. Amen.