Jesus in the New Year

Since the moment my kids began to understand the concept of love, we’ve been playing the “I love you” game.

“I love you.” “I love you more.” “I love you most.”

Sixteen years and four kids—they’ve each searched for a way to best me but I always end with, “I love you most. You’ll understand when you grow up.”

That worked for sixteen years until Wyatt. Last time I said, “I love you more,” he responded with, “I love you how much God loves you.”

No arguing with that. Right? Not even infinity plus one can top God’s love. I don’t think he planned on the theological argument that followed, but he did have one thing right—we can’t get higher than God’s love.

God’s love is the highest love. God himself is the originator and source of love. Outside of his love, we can’t exist and without his love we can’t be saved. Click To Tweet

Even the highest human love is but a dim reflection of God’s unfathomable love. And though our love wavers and dims with each wind of life, God’s love shines steady into the darkness and can never be snuffed out.

John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (ESV). Paul writes in Romans 8, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

…in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Advent of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ our Eternal Light. Our Perfect Love. He, the embodiment of God’s love, came to us while we stumbled and grasped in darkness. He shone his light on the path to salvation.

Then he went to the cross, the ultimate act of, “I love you most.”

As we grow up in Christ’s love, we begin to understand how totally and completely his love eclipses us. It would never cross our mind to say, “We love you more.” The very idea is laughable.

As we mature in him, we look for ways to show him our love, meager and imperfect as it is. We look for ways to reflect his love more brightly. More steadily.

Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Later in verse 8, it says, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Paul shows us an additional aspect of the darkness Jesus saved us from. We weren’t just in darkness, we were darkness. But in Romans 13 Paul also commends us, “Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

When we humble ourselves and surrender to Jesus, confessing our darkness and sin, he transforms us from darkness to light. He sets us on the path of salvation and gives us the responsibility of blazing his light into the darkness that surrounds us.

Is that path easy? If it was we probably wouldn’t need an armor. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” This is his “I love you most” battle cry.

With Jesus’s advent, God set us ablaze to light up a world which sin has darkened. Jesus’s words and Jesus’s example calls us to take up this cross every day. As we move firmly into the new year, let us take the truth of Advent along with us and carry our crosses as Jesus did—transforming the darkness.

From manger to cross, the ultimate act of, “I love you most.” Click To Tweet

13 thoughts on “Jesus in the New Year”

  1. When I realized and understood how much God loved me, it changed everything for my life. I knew at that moment I had a Father in heaven who would never leave nor forsake me. He truly does love me most (mostest is what we say in my family :)). And I was the most unlovable sinful person to love. But he reached down in the pit and pulled me out, rescuing me from my self-destruction. Thank you for the reminder of how much God loves us, even when we are in the most darkest places of our life.

  2. Your post left me with a huge smile on my face as I thought about Jesus telling me, “I love you most.” What an amazing thought that is true. He loves us more than anyone or anything. Thanks for sharing Stephanie.

  3. I’m not sure we can fully comprehend God’s love on this side of eternity. That makes eternity’s prospects that much more exciting to ponder. Great post!

  4. Stephanie, this is beautiful and just what I needed right now in a dark valley I find myself in the middle of. Sweet Wyatt’s response to you is priceless. And how comforting to know that from the cross to the manger, Jesus was completing a show-and-tell “I love you the most.”

  5. Oh Stephanie, this is so very beautiful. Your words touched my heart. We know this is true, Jesus loves the most, but you captured it all so eloquently and powerfully. May we carry this truth deeper than any other in the year ahead.

  6. I love this line, Stephanie: “Not even infinity plus one can top God’s love.” It so easy in our finite minds to limit God to terms or situations that we understand, but He is so far beyond that. How important it is to represent that greater-than-infinity-plus-one concept to those we meet. It’s cool that your son is on that track.

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