“It Was Love, Mere Love”
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NLT)
When I was young in the Lord, I would hear church leaders in certain theological circles argue against the celebration of Christmas. They would explain that Christmas was derived from a pagan holiday (not true), that Christmas should be lived in our hearts everyday (true, but that does not rule out a special celebration), and that the holiday was too commercial (true again, but correct the problem–do not throw out the feast day).
The great evangelist, George Whitefield, who preached throughout the American colonies during the Great Awakening, graciously argued for the continued celebration of the Feast of the Nativity. Whitefield points to the greatness of God’s love which motivated the Son of God to become fully human and fully divine in one person for our salvation’s sake.
It was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world Â . . . . What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus?Â Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid! No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church, with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Saviorâ€™s love never be forgotten!
May we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above!Â May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love, and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, for ever and ever! And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance.