Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 52:13-53:12, John 15:7-21, Luke 1:68-79

This passage in Isaiah does not use the word love. In f, it sounds that God is cruel.

This passage does not use the word love. It preaches and lives it from its very core.

How? Through Jesus. Only through Jesus was such a horrific event transformed from terror-inducing to -giving. Only God can take something soaked in death and turn it into something that produces , and only through the very being of God’s self: the second person of the Trinity, Jesus.

Jesus’ words to his s were just words. It’s not that they didn’t think Jesus’ words were unimportant, but they were lacking the understanding of how deep their meaning was. As we quickly approach Christmas, we should hold in our s and minds, as we celebrate the gentle, warm and easy baby in a manger, that Good Friday and Easter are coming. A simple child will change the world.

Zechariah’s prophecy for his son, John, was both filled with joy of and for his son. Such a prophecy means that his son would expect a of hardship and oppoion. Prophets are often unloved by those that God sent them to. A father’s joy of birth, overshadowed by what was to come. God the Father, and all the Heaven’s, filled with joy of the coming birth of the Messiah, yet that simple -giving was known to not be the of salvation, but merely the starting point of salvation fulfilled by the cross.

When we speak of Christian love, it is a hard love. This is not the soft and gentle love that the world wants, but the love the puts other ahead of self, and the lower above the higher. Jesus shows us what godly love is, and we struggle to do it. We often think of it as easy, but it violates the world’s love, and the world will do anything to oppose it.

Christmas is love in . Christmas is the celebration of a loving , by a loving God, fulfilled by a loving God, to back to love a world filled with , anxiety, prejudice and hatred.

Most parents have ed a of love. Having a child is having part of your forever outside of yourself. Imagine how God feels. Billions of pieces of God’s are walking on this planet right now.

1) What are your thoughts about being “a piece of God’s ”?

2) Often when following God, we have to release those we love to Him. If you’ve done that, how does it feel? If you haven’t, can you imagine what it feels like?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.