by Bill Hunt

Christmas love gives someone a reason to believe. Spending wads of money in material giving on commercial gifts to meet a felt cultural obligation falls way short. That's just a scratch on the surface of the glass. The real meaning is found in the heart. 

Take a look at that unspoken citizen in Bethlehem who loaned his humble animal manger to a traveling stranger who brought a young wife in imminent labor eighty miles on a donkey. There was no room in the inn or anywhere for the needs of the young couple.

"Sorry, friend, I don't have a private room in my house; but I own a manger in the side of the hill there. You can use the fresh straw I placed today. My livestock are very tame. It looks like you better hurry."

Those Magi traveled far by faith through sandy dune deserts and wastelands following their prophetic star to find the Messiah.

Astounding generosity, noted Jesus, was displayed by the poor widow who gave two small coins to the temple offering.

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All the people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on" (Luke 21:3-4 NIV).

There was a sinful woman who anointed, washed, and kissed the feet of Jesus with an expensive alabaster jar of perfume. She dried his feet lovingly with her hair. Jesus spoke to his host, the objecting Pharisee, Simon.

"You did not give me any water for my feet," Jesus told Simon, "but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much" (Luke 7:44-47 NIV).

This Christmas find someone who needs Christmas love! Jesus told the story of the Samaritan who came across a man beaten and robbed left by the roadside. The stranger poured oil and wine on the victim's bloody wounds and bandaged them. He took the man to an inn and paid for all the expenses of his care with his own money.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" (Phil. 2:5-8 NIV).

Christmas love is self-sacrificing love. Christmas love gives someone a reason to believe. Christianity is not a religion; it's a person who showed us how. Christmas love is the love of Jesus. This Christmas, find someone you can help who needs love. You won't have far to look. Christmas love: an innkeeper in Bethlehem, some wealthy wise men, a poor widow, a sinful woman, a stranger, and how about you?

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