Love Never Fails Mike Coppersmith November 1, 2005 Why Christmas is About Letting God Make the Arrangements “I’ll make all the arrangements.” It’s good to hear these words when they come from the lips of a travel agent, cruise director, concierge, wedding coordinator, mortgage broker, real estate agent, husband or wife. “I’ll make all the arrangements.” CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT LETTING GOD MAKE THE ARRANGEMENTS. And God is so much more able to make all the arrangements than these other people who specialize in making arrangements. Why? BECAUSE HIS LOVE NEVER FAILS! Think of THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS AND HOW GOD MADE ALL THE ARRANGMENTS. Galatians 4:4-5 speaks of that first Christmas: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (NLT) Yes, that first Christmas God made all the arrangements. He arranged for: Joseph and Mary to meet and be engaged Mary, while still a virgin, to become with child by the Holy Spirit Caesar Augustus to issue a decree that a census should be taken in Palestine Joseph and Mary to take that journey to Bethlehem The labor pains to begin and the manger to be available The shepherds to be in the field keeping watch over their flock by night The angel chorus The star in the heavens The wise men from the East That first Christmas God made all the arrangements! His love never fails! Because God made all the arrangements, when Jesus Christ came, He came in three ways. First of all, He came AT THE RIGHT TIME. As Galatians 4 says, “When the fullness of time had come …” That word “fullness” carries with it a sense of everything being ready – like a woman at full-term pregnancy. In a similar way, the world was ready when Jesus came. Never before in history had this earth been in a better position for the message of Jesus to spread throughout the world. The Roman world was, at that moment, at peace – the “Pax Romana”. An unprecedented system of roads made communication and travel safer, swifter and more secure than ever before. God’s people, the Jews, were scattered to many lands and were acquainted with the promises and prophecies of Scripture, looking for the Messiah. There was a common language, the Greek language, spoken and understood by many. The world was ready for the message of Jesus Christ to travel far and wide. Because God made all the arrangements, Jesus Christ came at the right time. His love never fails! Secondly, Jesus came IN THE RIGHT WAY. Galatians 4:4 says, “…God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the law…” When God the Father sent forth from the halls of Heaven God the Son, He sent Him forth to be “born of a woman” Jesus was born not of a man and a woman, but of a woman – a virgin birth – so that He would be a sinless Savior. For God knew that a sinful Savior would be no Savior at all. And Jesus was “born under the law” This law is the perfect expectations and standards of God that the human race has miserably failed to fulfill. In our miserable failure to fulfill this law, we find ourselves held hostage to it – kidnapped away from life with God today and forever. But when Jesus came, He was “born of a woman, born under the law.” Because God made all the arrangements, Jesus Christ came at the right time in the right way. His love never fails! Thirdly, because God made all the arrangements, Jesus Christ came TO DO THE RIGHT THING. As Galatians 4:5 says: “…to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” At Christmas, God became man. In His humanity Jesus Christ lived the perfect life – He kept the law all of us have failed to keep. It is important to realize that in order to be acceptable to God, you must have a perfect life to present to Him – a life without sin and imperfection. This is something none of us have. But when you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have a perfect life to present to God the Father: the perfect life of God the Son! Jesus lived the perfect life. Then, Jesus died the perfect death. He shed His blood as a payment, as a ransom price, to redeem those of us who were under the law so that we might become the children of God He made us to be. This is how one paraphrase of the Bible puts Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent His son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law, so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.” (The Message) It’s like the time a mother, getting ready to go some place, spilled a glass of orange juice all over her dress and all over the kitchen floor. Because she was in a hurry, she decided to leave the Kool-Aid on the kitchen floor and run upstairs to change her dress. When she came back down stairs, she saw that her little boy had wiped the orange juice off the kitchen floor. The mother was so touched she reached into her purse and offered a couple of dollars to her son to repay him for his kindness. “That’s alright, Mama,” said the little boy, “I done it for love.” And it is the same with Jesus Christ. Because God made all the arrangements that first Christmas, Jesus came at the right time, in the right way, to do the right thing. His love never fails! Now the good news of Christmas is that GOD STILL MAKES ALL THE ARRANGEMENTS TODAY! He always comes at the right time, in the right way, to do the right thing. His love never fails! 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 says this: “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away…now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV) When we look at our lives today, we see things but in a poor reflection. We know only in part. It’s hard, if not impossible, to understand what happens to us, when it happens, why it happens. We struggle, we doubt, we question, we ask our “Why?”, but amid the dimness and the darkness shines the resounding promise of Christmas that God still makes all the arrangements today! For that baby sleeping in a manger in Bethlehem is now the King of Kings and Lord of Lords reigning upon a throne in Heaven. He rules in perfect wisdom, perfect power and perfect love. He is always working on behalf of His followers, always bringing good even from the darkest and most difficult of circumstances in His children’s lives. This is our faith, this is our hope, this is our love and His love never fails! All the people, the presents, the productions, the products of Christmas as the world knows sooner or later will fade away and fail you. If you put your faith, your hope, your love in these things, you’ll end up disappointed. It’s like the 90-year-old grandmother who was struggling with the hectic pace of Christmas shopping and made a decision. She would no longer send presents to her family and friends. Instead she would send Christmas cards and include a check with each one so that they could purchase their own presents. So she carefully prepared the card and wrote in each one: “Buy your own present.” Then she sent the cards off in the mail well before Christmas. Strangely, no one ever made any mention of having received a card. When some of her family visited her, she asked them if they had received her cards. They were polite, but not enthusiastic. They barely even thanked her. A year later, as she was preparing to send her cards again, she made a rather disturbing discovery. Underneath the pile of Christmas paper, she found all of the checks. She had failed to include any of the checks in the cards. Instead, each of her family and friends received a card with nothing inside it but these words, “Buy your own present.” Yes, the people, the presents, the productions, the products, the arrangements of Christmas as most people know it sooner or later will fail. Don’t put your faith, your hope, your love in these things. Instead put your faith, your hope, your love in Jesus Christ! He still makes all the arrangements today. Though now you see things in a mirror dimly, the day will come when you will see things face to face. Though you now know in part, the day will come when you know fully even as you are fully known. Then you will see then that even in your darkest and most difficult moments, Jesus always came at the right time, in the right way, to do the right thing. His love never fails! SO LET GOD MAKE THE ARRANGEMENTS IN YOUR LIFE! Galatians 3:11 in The Message Bible says: “The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him.” Tonight I invite you, because Jesus Christ Himself invites you, to embrace faith, hope and love. I invite you to embrace Faith. Choose to rest in Jesus Christ and to trust in Him. Does this mean that you will never struggle, doubt or ask “Why?” Absolutely not! If God is exalted, majestic, lifted up and mysterious enough to evoke our awe and worship, He is also exalted, majestic, lifted up and mysterious enough to evoke our questions and our whys. But He is also loving enough to come and give us what we really need: not just the answers to our questions but to give us Himself. That’s what Christmas is all about. And when we have Him, we find out that He is enough. So embrace Faith! Embrace Jesus! I invite you to embrace Hope. For when you have embraced Faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit you can embrace Hope. You can choose to be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, consistent in worship and joyful in your struggles. So embrace Hope! Embrace Jesus! And I invite you to embrace Love. Receive anew the love of Jesus Christ for you. For when you have embraced Faith and Hope, then you can embrace a new measure of love for others. You will be able to love people you can’t love right now, because Christ will love them through you. So embrace Love! Embrace Jesus! His love will not fail. All of this is possible for you to do because God still makes the arrangements today. What He asks of you is that you stop trying to make all the arrangements. He asks that you surrender yourself to Him, that you let Him set the priorities and agenda for your life. As the living and loving Savior who is on the throne of Heaven, He wants to be on the throne of your heart and your life. Go ahead; make that choice. Take that step. No matter what burden you are bearing, struggle you are facing, fear you are fighting, question you are asking, loss you are grieving, hurt you are nursing – let go of these things. Give them to Jesus. Begin to let Him make the arrangements in your life. He will work all things out. He will always come at the right time in the right way to do the right thing. His love will not fail you! It is as a mother once wrote: Each December I vow to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I cut back on non-essential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even over-spending. Yet still one Christmas I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments and, of course, the true meaning of Christmas. My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a 6 year old. For weeks he had been memorizing songs for the school’s “winter pageant”. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me that there would be a dress rehearsal on the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in 10 minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited the students were led into the room. Each class accompanied by their teacher sat cross-legged on the floor. Then each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment, songs of reindeers, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So when my son’s class rose to sing a song entitled “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing, “C is for Christmas”, a child would hold up the letter C. Then “H is for Happy” and on and on until each child holding up his letter had presented the complete message “Christmas Love”. The performance was going smoothly until suddenly we noticed her: a small quiet little girl in the front row holding the letter M in Christmas upside down, totally unaware that her letter M appeared as a W. The audience of 1st through 6th graders seated in the cafeteria giggled at this little girl’s mistake, but she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall proudly holding her W. Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. At that instant we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos there was a purpose for our festivities…and for our lives. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: “CHRISTWAS LOVE”. And I believe He still is. And so do I! Amid my struggles, doubts, questions and whys, I still believe that God makes all the arrangements. Amid the pain and imperfection of an imperfect world, Jesus still comes at the right time in the right way to do the right thing. That first Christmas God made all the arrangements. He still makes all the arrangements today. So let Him make the arrangements in your life and you’ll find out that His love never fails! _______________ Mike Coppersmith is Pastor of Our Savior’s Community in Palm Springs, CA. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.