“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him…Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”
–1 John 4:9, 11
On this Christmas Day, it is my prayer that you are experiencing Christmas love with family or friends or simply in the midst of God’s own presence.
In a book of thoughts by children on what love is, one 7-year-old boy put it well when he said, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
One of the Christmas carols in our United Methodist Hymnal is ‘Love Came Down at Christmas.’ It is a short three-verse song and the first and last verses are my favorite. The first verse says, “Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely, Love divine; Love was born at Christmas; star and angels gave the sign;” and the last verse says, “Love shall be our token, love be yours and love be mine; love to God and others, love for plea and gift and sign.”
Christina Rossetti wrote this carol in 1885. Her other familiar carol, written in 1872, is ‘In the Bleak Midwinter.’ Christina came from a family deeply involved in the arts. She also wrote religious poetry and devotional books, even though she struggled with poor health from the age of 16. Her deep faith is thought to be partially due to the solace she found in writing.
‘Love Came Down at Christmas’ offers the beautiful image of God’s love descending to earth and being announced by “stars and angels.” The word ‘love’ is mentioned 12 times in the three verses of this carol.
On this Christmas Day and in the 12 days of Christmas that we now celebrate, I invite you to read the words of this carol and take time to reflect on the gift of God’s love that has come to us at Christmas through the Christ Child.