Daily Devotion - Monday, December 21, 2015
This is the third week of the season of Advent. Throughout the season of Advent we'll be focusing on what it means to be full of expectation and anticipation during this blessed time of year. We'll also be lifting up the various weekly themes of Advent, corresponding to the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath. This week our theme is "Love."
I was looking through Flipboard (an online news source that I read on a regular basis) yesterday and saw a section entitled "2015: Year In Review." It was sobering to read through them. There was story after story of violence, terror attacks, nasty politics, tragedies and other assorted awfulness.
I was struck that almost all of the major events in the "Year In Review" were fairly terrible. But it was the technology behind the way those awful stories were collected that really got me thinking.
The software for Flipboard searches the Internet for the biggest stories of the year, based on the numbers of times people searched for them on the Web. Then it creates an online magazine of sorts where you can see all of those "top stories" and read through them.
At this point your eyes have begun to glaze over and perhaps you've started drifting off to sleep in sheer boredom. But the reason I am explaining (though not very well, I'm afraid) how these stories are compiled is because that's the story that's riveting--even more so than the stories themselves.
You see, more people were drawn to the terrible events of 2015 than anything that wasn't terrible, which resulted in higher volumes of searches on the Internet for said terrible things, which then resulted in the "2015: Year In Review" section of my Flipboard, which was filled with awful stories of awful things happening in the world.
This past Sunday I quoted John 3:16 to the congregation a couple of times in my sermon: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall everlasting life." As I was reading through the "Year In Review" a question flashed through my head: "What if we loved the world with the same kind of love that God has for it?"
Seriously, what if we did? What if we loved this world, and all of God's children in the world? What if we lived so sacrificially, so completely devoid of selfishness that by our words and our deeds everyone we came in contact with would see the unbelievable love of God through Jesus? Would it move the needle a bit in the right direction?
We won't know for sure until we try. It's going to take some fearlessness in order to step into this, but I think we have a chance to change the world dramatically if we do.
May you live each day feeling the very love of God in your heart toward this world and all who live in it. May you be filled with supernatural gifts of forgiveness, grace, peace, mercy and hope for the purpose of giving yourself away for the sake of God's kingdom.
May you be overwhelmed with a vision of a world may new because of God's great love, made visible in Jesus Christ who came to redeem and rescue us all. And may the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.