Christmas is all about God’s love for humankind. A love that exists regardless of whether we love Him in return (which we generally don’t).
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son…” (The Message) as a gift to all. That Son is Jesus – Wonderful Counsellor, Prince of Peace, Immanuel (God with us) – and He is the focus of the day and the season we call Christmas. He is the embodiment of God’s love for us.
In my part of the world, and in many others, we’ve taken that gift, that passion, that purpose and turned it into a retailers dream, the commercial mega event of the year and a time of anxiety. (link: ). Clever us.
Us humans don’t really understand or know what to do with God’s love.
We have reduced love to a commodity. An easy come, easy go, fickle emotion that we ‘fall’ in and out of. Or we have placed it on a pedestal and turned love into a god in and of itself. An intangible, invisible concept that is too lofty to attain to and too fluid to define.
Yet Christmas shows us that God is love, love is not god. God alone defines and embodies love.
The most enduring, powerful trait of God, is love. God’s love is not fickle. God’s love never ceases. No darkness, no evil, no fear can remain in the presence of God’s love. Love always perseveres, hopes, trusts, and protects. God’s love never fails.
Even though we don’t often return God’s love, He continues to invite us to receive, participate in and live in His love. God loved us first and it is because of His love, through Jesus, that we can be reconciled and restored to relationship with Him.
We are called to live a life of love.
In coming to this realisation for my own life, it has often raised more questions than it has answered.
What does living a life of love really look like? How does that work in practice? What does that mean for my life? What does that mean for other people’s lives?
Since 2012 I’ve had an underpinning theme for my year.
2012 was my Year of Living Generously. This is not to suggest that I don’t try to live generously at other times. Although, I have been tempted. However, this was my specific focus and growth area for 2012. Being more generous with my time, my skills and experiences, and my finances. Being more open to people and growing relationships. There was certainly no shortage of opportunity to exercise that. That theme, living generously, became my decision making tool for that year. My frequent question to myself was “will this opportunity and choice cause me to model living generously, or not?”
2013 was my Year of Going Deeper. Going deeper into key aspects of my life. Seeking to operate in spaces where it mattered if God was there or not. Not wanting to be where God wasn’t leading me and seeking to trust Him more and more.
This year, 2014, was my Year of Taking Care of the Centre. Getting back to basics. Simplifying certain aspects of my life. Trimming and reducing roles that I play, and trying only to be successful at things that matter most to God. Ensuring that more than anything Jesus was at the centre of everything I was doing – as Husband, Dad, Pastor, CEO and Friend.
2015, is … *drum roll* … my Year Of Love.
When I first came to the conclusion that this is what God wants me to make the focus and theme of my year (and probably the rest of my life) – I was a somewhat underwhelmed. I was underwhelmed because of those things I mentioned earlier about how ‘love’ is defined in the world. I was embarrassed at the thought of sharing it.
But I got over myself.
I have decided that there would be worse things, and possibly little greater, than to be known as a guy who is obsessed with, and desperately trying to live, the love of God.
You won’t be surprised to hear I’m not even close to being that guy, yet.
Consequently, over the next 12 months I want to start to become that guy, and I’m inviting you to join me.
Each month I want to focus on a specific facet of love. 12 months, 12 facets. And I’d like to share that with you.
I want to spark a conversation – a loving, generous conversation. I want to pose questions. I want to offer and consider practical examples and stories of what it might look like to live a life of love.
To facilitate that I want to invite you to subscribe to my email list.
Simply go to: https://tinyletter.com/aleemali
Enter your email address and click subscribe. You’ll then get a confirmation email that you will need to click to confirm your subscription. From there, emails will arrive in your inbox and direct you to content and discussion around living a life of love.
2015, a Year of Love. Join me. There would be worse things, and possibly little greater, that you could do with your year.