One of the promised posts on the holidays…
When we were kids, the holidays were so fantastic. It was so fun to go to Grandma’s house, play with cousins and eat endless amounts of dessert! Our parents didn’t seem equally excited. In fact, they seemed like they were dreading it! Why? Because, unlike our childlike view, Grandma is a drama queen, the cousins are horribly behaved little devil children and Uncle Steve is sleeping with his secretary and everyone knows it except his wife! (This is not actually a portrait of my family – except the cousins part, you know who you are – but you get the idea.) This is the family we walk into for a holiday celebration. No wonder it’s no fun! Why do we expect any different? We are all fallen people, and for some reason, the rules of common courtesy and respectfulness don’t apply among people who are related. However, we are expected to put on a smiley face and hang out on Christmas.
So what’s to be done? A boycott?
Love thy neighbor as yourself. (Matt 22:39) What is love?
Expectations kill love. Expecting something from someone else is not loving. Love is not quid pro quo (yes, I am a lawyer). This is love – not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10) Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving. (Paul David Tripp, “What Did You Expect?) God didn’t expect anything from us. He just loved us. We were the most unloving and the most undeserving.
Am I willing? Am I self-sacrificing? Certainly there are people in my life who are unloving and undeserving. Am I loving to them or only to those who are deserving? More than that, do I even know what love is?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)