Dear C and G,
As we sat at the kitchen table tonight with four candles lit, we focused on the word love. I read John 3:16 and on a bit, and then a few verses from 1 Corinthians 13. These are some of the most famous words on love in the Bible. Love is the most difficult thing to really describe and yet also the easiest thing for me to understand.
I understand love more today than I did six years ago because of both of you.
Nothing has helped me to understand God as much as motherhood has. I understand the joyous and the sacrificial aspects of love because almost every day of being a mommy contains both components of love. I look at you both, and I know that I would give everything I have, even my very life, to help you, to bless you, to save you. And I fail and fall short each day. Sometimes I am cranky. Sometimes I inadvertently make the wrong decision. Sometimes I am impulsive. Sometimes I am tired. My love for you guys, no matter how enormous and wonderful it is, is still imperfect.
When I think of how much I love you, my sons, and then when I think of how much God loves you - and me - I am overwhelmed. So often in the Bible God is described as a Father. That is a tricky one for me, though through the years God has healed many of my hurts associated with that word. But when I think of the love of God, one of my favorite verses is from Zephaniah 3:17. Tonight I read it in The Living Bible.
"For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you. Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song."
I love this verse because it is the Gospel. God with us - Jesus - Emmanuel. He didn't come just to be with us, but to save us from ourselves, from our sin. And not only that, He rejoices over us with great gladness. He loves us and does not accuse us. Because He has bought our salvation with his perfect sacrificial love for us, we are no longer accused. We are his children. I know what it is like to love my children, and He loves us like that - but magnified.
And the part at the end, where the Lord is singing over us with a happy song, is such a picture of motherly love to me because how often have I sang over you? We sing in the car, we sing to be silly, we sing many mornings, and I sing to you when you are sad. But my favorite memories of singing as a mother have been when you were both small, and I would hold you and sing to you as you fell asleep. During those moments, I felt like my heart would burst with love for you.
And our God - He sings over us not out of obligation or ritual - but out of His great love for us. As a mother loves her helpless baby, so God loves us.
I pray that each Christmas you will understand more and more the love of Christ, the gift He was by coming to earth to give us salvation, and the blessing it is to belong to Him. I pray that you will know His love and His truth and that you will each understand that they are so connected that they can't be separated. I pray the love you receive from Him will fill you with all hope, joy, and peace each day of your life.
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are." (1 John 3:1 - NIV)