“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16
Several years ago while we were living in Nashville, my parents were visiting us for Christmas. The night before they left to return to Oklahoma my father confided in me that he had a little detour planned for their trip home. This little detour involved him buying a new beagle puppy. The reason I said that my father confided in me is because my mother knew nothing of this little detour or the puppy that she would meet along the way. My suspicion remains that my father did not tell my mother about his little detour because she would have said no to the puppy if he gave her the opportunity. Let’s just say that my mother never really got the opportunity to say no and a new beagle puppy was soon part of the family. I laugh as I think about my parents, and all of the stories just like this. God has blessed me so much to get to watch their lives. You see, they have been married for more than 49 years. They have both chosen to give up things for one another. Sometimes they have sacrificed really big things for one another. Other times they have sacrificed smaller things – like the chance to take care of another beagle puppy.
Really loving someone means that person is more important to you than the things you want. God gave me a great example of that with my parents, but He gave us an even greater example in His Son. Jesus was fully God in heaven, but He loved us enough to become one of us so that we might know Him. Jesus wasn’t born in a palace to wealthy parents with lots of gifts and a parade to welcome Him into our world. Jesus was born to a normal, everyday young woman in a small town and placed in a feeding trough so that we would understand that Jesus loved all of us regardless of who we are or what we have. Jesus was born so that we could know Him, and He died on the cross so that we could have a relationship with Him. Jesus set aside everything because of His great love. At Christmas it is so easy to get caught up in all the presents and stuff. It is so easy to focus on ourselves and what we want. Ironically, we can’t be selfish and be like Jesus. We can’t be selfish and consider others more important than we are. We can’t really celebrate Christmas without celebrating the sacrifice Jesus made so that we might know Him. So let’s celebrate Christmas by laying down our wants and our comfort just like Jesus did.
How does selfishness keep us from acting like Jesus?
How can you sacrifice your wants this Christmas?