I spent the majority of my life searching for love. Like so many, I looked for love in the wrong places, the wrong people, and the wrong type of love. My father left the earth when I was just nine years old. He spent the last year of his life battling cancer and getting to know Jesus before they met face to face. Dad was a noble man in our small town and left a legacy with his early departure at age 52. He and I didn’t have a lot of time to make memories but he did leave an impression. It was the message he left behind through our pastor’s powerful eulogy. Dad correlated 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, with John 3:16, the classic salvation verse. The epitome of our Creator’s love was the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. The gift of Jesus is why Christmas is a time, a season, filled with love.
Some of you are new to this tradition of the Hirsch family Thanksgiving letter. In which case, you hadn’t a clue I missed the deadline of the fourth Thursday of November. Much was in turmoil last month; I was able to count my many blessings but wasn’t able to create an appropriate message to tie the 2015 theme of love with my favorite holiday. Each year I get a prompting on my heart with a single word to ponder. Over the years, I’ve written about grace, joy, simplicity, blessings, and more. The observances have been fruitful with rich lessons that I weave into a family update. I am hopeful you have seen growth over the years, not just age and maturity, but also the wisdom acquired by focusing on these simple messages. God is omnipotent and omnipresent.
Love seems like such an obvious ‘holiday’ emotion, one might be surprised it hasn’t come on my heart years ago. The honest truth; my heart wasn’t prepared to know true love until I learned lessons of humility in 2014. 2015 took me to places I had dreamed of as well as many new adventures. I found love in unsuspecting places and people.
Love can be passionate, best experienced in the exclusivity God intended. We all know brotherly love and often feel this fist bumping affection in many relationships. The love of Jesus is an organic and amazingly profound affection. For years, I have done many things because I ‘love’ to do them but when I discovered true love, it gave new meaning and purpose to each day. It could just be I’m a slow learner. I’m grateful that my relationship with my Savior grows closer each day. I’ve been able to see what He sees from a clearer vantage point. I am not writing this message to boast. “Love is not boastful or rude.” I am writing to spur loved ones to consider a deeper relationship; a deeper love.
We share the message and gift of Christmas out of love. It isn’t that we want to be proven right as if we are choosing teams for a game, that is arrogance. Love isn’t arrogant. Often, the gift of Christ comes from a place of pride and shaming rather than humility. Love isn’t proud. Sadly, it often comes with a message that you have to earn the gift or come into a more perfect posture before approaching to receive the gift of Christmas. Nothing is further from the truth. Love bears all things. His gift is free to us.
Christmas isn’t what it’s been marketed for years and it is far from what it has become today. It can be as pure, organic, and humble as it was 2015 years ago. Jesus lived a humble life… He lived love. He left a new commandment to simply love one another (John 13:34). The greatest commandment was that we love God with all our heart and soul. The next is that we love each other as much as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). There is love and then, there is LOVE… pure, organic, humble LOVE.
We hope you are surrounded by love yet anxious to feel and know this perfect love.
…God’s love was made present at Christmas!
Every good and perfect gift is from above. He is consistent and does not change. James 1:7
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, BUT the greatest of these IS… LOVE
30 cards and letters were mailed this week to friends and family who I’m not connected with via social media or email. It was hard to know what to do when I realized it would be improper to send them out as a family Christmas card. Since it is a solid evangelistic message, we’ll save the remaining 70 cards for use in the mission field. Dad was right in 1977– what the world needs now is love, sweet love.
For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.
No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18