We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
1 John 4:16 NLT
I never really got a traditional “family Christmas” when I was growing up. My mum and dad, who was the leader of the local church, would often invite someone who would be alone or a struggling family to join us on Christmas day. If I am honest I would find it incredibly frustrating as the years went by. As a child, I would watch all of these Christmas movies which would romanticize the idea of the family unit gathering around the tree in the morning to open presents. In addition, the pervading message at Christmas was that the truest expression of love was buying presents for one another, and if my parents had to buy presents for extra people then surely I would be getting less. Did that mean they didn’t love me as much as every other family loved their kids?
One year, we actually ended up having the family Christmas that I had always desired. Just me, my parents, and my two brothers. I realised, rather abruptly, that Christmas without the unexpected guests wasn’t everything I had dreamed of. It was actually boring! There was something missing. I have realised over the years that what was missing was a unique expression of God's love at Christmas time which I was rarely exposed to at other times of the year. He sees the people that everyone else overlooks.
The whole Christmas story is all about a God who loves us. We read in 1 John 4:16 that all who live in love also live in God, and God lives in them. That means that if we really want to know Jesus and experience all of the facets of an adventurous life with him, we need to love like He loved. Sacrificially. Unconditionally. Especially those who are often overlooked.
So who do you know who might be overlooked in this season? It might be that you have an international student on your course or in your halls who won’t be going home this Christmas. Perhaps you have a friend who doesn’t have a stable family to go back to. Maybe you know a young family in your church who won’t be able to give their kids the Christmas they are dreaming of.
You won’t be able to save the world on your own, but a small act of kindness could demonstrate to someone who feels forgotten that God actually sees them through us living in love. Who can you show an act of kindness to today?