For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16
God loves you
Jesus says these familiar words to Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher who secretly visits Jesus at night to question him. Given the opportunity to sum up his message to this enquirer, Jesus responds with these words (this is The Message version):
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.”
What we celebrate at Christmas is God’s great love for the whole world.
Like Nicodemus, we’re not really sure we understand this message, but the bible shouts it loud and clear to us as we’ve discovered on our Advent-ure.
God loves you.
As one of my pastors used to say: ‘God loves you because He loves you because He loves you’.
It puts me in mind of part this incredible sermon from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, given in 2004:
To be like this God, who gives up on no-one, who loves us, not because we are loveable but that we become loveable only because God loves us, God loves us with a love that will not let us go, a love that loved us before we were created, a love that loves us now, a love that will love us forever, world without end. A love that says of each single one of us: “I love you, you are precious and special to me, I love you as if you were the only human being on earth, I love you and there is nothing you can do to make me love you more because I already love you perfectly.”
How incredibly, wonderfully, it is that God says to you, to me: “There is nothing you can do to make me love you less. I take you, I take you very seriously, I take you – you – body and soul, you the visible and the invisible of you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”