The second candle of Advent is the Love candle. Admittedly, the love candle might seem a bit dim right now. We are still reeling from the evil that hit too close to home last week, and this morning we are heartbroken for 14 families who will wake up to a world without someone they love. While we may never understand on this side of Heaven why God allowed this to happen, we can take comfort in the fact that God is a father who intimately understands loss and suffering.
Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us that “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”
Perhaps the most famous words in Scripture are found in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Especially at Christmas, we love others because He first loved us. We know how to love because we have known the sacrificial love of God, who did not spare His only Son so that you and I could have our slates wiped clean.
The apostle John writes in 1 John 4:7-10 “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
There is evil in this world. We know this all too well. But if you are afraid, take heart. The God who has existed before there was time, who loved us so much that He sent Jesus as a tiny baby in a manger, that very same God is here now. The apostle Paul writes, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:29)