[Part 4, Chapter 22]
Please, don’t judge me, but I don’t like Christmas carols.
My dislike has to do with overkill. Four services on Christmas Eve will do that to you, especially when your office is situated next to the band rehearsal area. My Joyeux Noël, killed by an excess of “The First Nowell’.
The same is true with the Luke 2 account of Jesus’ birth. I could say it off by heart, under water, while asleep. Familiarity hadn’t bred contempt, but it had birthed something approaching indifference.
Imagine my surprise then, to be deeply impacted by an email last year based on a verse from Luke 2 that appears in many carols!
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” (Luke 2:14)
The newsletter, from Wayne Jacobsen, was entitled: “Are you worthy of love?”
He had me right there, as I know this is the base question behind many people’s innermost longings and lifestyle excesses. I reprint this with Wayne’s blessing.
Are You Worthy of Love?
If you gave this question serious consideration, we probably need to talk.
The saddest words I hear from people are those that wonder if they are worthy of God’s love. That question is predicated on the biggest lie to find its way into God’s creation—that love can be earned.
Nothing disproves that lie better than the coming of Christ into our world. He didn’t come to redeem people the Father was disgusted with, but those he loved. Even on the night Christ was born, the shepherds heard the angels proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
We’ve read and sung it so many times, but is it possible for us to believe it?
Could Father’s peace really come to those he favours? Is it possible for him to be pleased, especially when you consider all the brokenness in the world? People were choosing their own way rather than God’s, Herod was about to kill all the boys under the age of two in an entire township, and the country was under foreign occupation by a morally bankrupt Roman regime. How could God be pleased?
As a God of favour, Father’s perfect love is consistent. It doesn’t vacillate, chopping and changing according to your behaviour or response to his love. “Today I didn’t speak critically about anyone. Yes! I’m worthy of his favour.” “Oh dear, today I gossiped and slandered my neighbour something chronic. No favour for me today!”
That most famous of verses, John 3:16, reminds us that God came to this world he so loved. You are included in that.
Love is love. God’s perfect love, even more so.
We are all worthy of love because of the place we hold in Father’s heart. No failure, or broken place changes that. … The joy of the Gospel is not in getting God to love us, but to relax into the reality of the love he already has for us.
Favour, it’s yours! You can’t earn what you already have. You can’t perform for that which you’ve already been given. You are incredibly loved, as Wayne says, “no less today than when the Father conceived you in his heart before you were born.”
That’s the favour-message, this is the favour-reality: believe it or not, the Creator of the universe is your loving Father.