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Friday, December 23, 2011
As husbands, I think one reason we have some trouble with Paul’s command to love our wives “as Christ loved the church,” is that we don’t really fully know how Christ loves the church.
In the Christmas story we have a wonderful portrait of this love right before our eyes. Consider for a moment a hypothetical conversation in heaven between Jesus and the Father.
A Heavenly Conversation
“Father, I think it’s time,” Jesus said.
“I know, yes, it is. My children are lost in darkness.”
“They need the light. My light. Your light.”
“It’s so hard for me to ask you to leave all this. The beauty. The perfection. The nonstop worship. I’ll miss having you here at my right hand.” The Father’s eyes looked down as the immensity of what was about to happen weighed on his heart.
“Yes, I’ll miss this very much. I’ll miss being here with you. But as painful as it is to leave, it’s more painful to stay when I know I can do something of such eternal value.”
The Father looked at Jesus with compassion. “Do you know what this means for you, my Son?”
“Yes. It means I will have an eternal, beautiful radiant bride. It means your people will have a way to you, free and clear. It means the law of love will replace the law of man, freedom will replace bondage, healing for diseases, it means our Spirit will be able reside right inside of those who look to me.”
“That’s not the part I’m talking about. I’m talking about you having to lay aside your heavenly form and take the form of a human. It means experiencing all the realities of the human condition. There will be those who hate you. They will reject you. They will beat you to the very limits of what your human frame can endure.”
The Father put his hand on the Son’s shoulder as a tear formed in his eye. “They will kill you. Brutally.”
“I know Father. I know,” Jesus said, still half smiling up at his Father. “But how else will they know the extent of my love for them. How else will it be possible to blot away all their misdeeds and wandering? You know there is only one way.”
“Of course you are right, Jesus, but that doesn’t make this easy for me.“
The Father turned to the angel standing nearby. “Gabriel, it’s time to prepare the way for my Son to come to earth. Go now and see to it.”
In an instant the angel Gabriel was gone. Everything was set in motion.
The time for Jesus’ own departure was now upon them. “I know I won’t be here,” Jesus said, “but I’ll talk to you every day. I know you’ll be with me wherever I go.”
“I will do what I can to lead you and to strengthen you for what you must do while you are there. Ultimately, this burden is yours to carry, though.”
The Father and Son embraced one last time.
“It will be worth it, Daddy. No matter what it costs me, I know it will be worth it.”
Love Like That
Of course we have no way of knowing whether such a conversation actually took place, but I’m quite sure the heart of it was something like that.
Jesus willingly set aside his authority and chose to clothe himself in humility. He gave his all for our sake. He valued intimacy with us more that his position. At the beginning of chapter 5 in the book of Ephesians, as a preface to famous instructions on marriage, Paul explained it this way:
Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.So husbands, as you enjoy extra time with your wife and family this Christmas season, I encourage you to consider the way the One Who is Love came to earth in the form of a baby all those years ago. Consider ways you might show this same kind of love to your wife. It's the best gift you can possibly give.
Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)
Be extravagant. Be humble and generous. Be selfless.
It will be worth it.
- - - - - - Check This Out - - - - - -
J at “Hot, Holy and Humorous” did a beautiful video Christmas card to her readers on her blog. It links scriptures from the Song of Solomon with Christmas. It’s perfectly fitting, because after all, Christmas is really part of the ultimate love story. Click on the picture below to see the video. Very cool!
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