Fourth Candle: Love That Gives

nativityThe final purple candle is the Candle of Love.

Next Sunday (December 22 this year), the Advent candle we light reminds us that the King of Kings loved us enough to send his only son to earth. We give gifts to each other, not out of obligation or manipulation – not to try to appease our guilt or buy others’ affection – but symbolically, to remember the Greatest Gift ever given.

 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Love isn’t love unless it gives. God loved and he gave. He sacrificed the most precious thing he had for us. It’s his character to love. It’s who he is. Everything he does, every thought he has, every motivation – it all stems from his boundless heart of love. Our hearts are safe in his tender, sturdy hands.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4:7-10

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:12-14.

Jesus was born for one purpose: to die. He came to earth to give up his physical life for us on the cross. But He also relinquished his life in other ways besides death. He gave up his time, his right to himself daily. He laid down his personal desires in order to serve, putting others’ needs above his own. His life was one of complete surrender to His Father’s plan, and that’s what he asks us to do.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

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