Love on Christmas: A Servant's Heart
Today is the start of the greatest journey of the most perfect, infinite love. God humbled Himself into an imperfect human baby (Ecclesiastes 7:20) to be born in a meager manger (Luke 2:7). This scene of God giving Himself to us, not taking all He deserves from us because we harm other humans, demonstrates true love. Contrary to Western notions that people should be harmed and left helpless in order to be free to do what they want, God’s definition of love is being a servant.
Matthew 20:25-28 compares Jesus’ giving of His life as a testimony of how we should give to that of the princes of the Gentiles who exercise dominion and authority over their people to emphasize that love is serving, not prospering by harming others. Jesus’ life means that God wants us to do right to others before we think of the things that we want. Philippians 2:3 says to honor others above ourselves. As it is repeated throughout the Bible, doing right and honoring others means loving others (Matthew 22:39). Love gives life (Matthew 22:32). Galatians 5:13 explains that God wants us to serve one another in love.
This same verse says that love should come before freedom. Contrary to Western beliefs that freedom to do anything one wants is more important than loving a person and sometimes having to give up the Western notion of freedom, God is saying that giving up one’s life to give another life is more important than doing anything one wants. In fact, God’s definition of love is freer than the Western definition of freedom because we are no longer slaves to sin, but heirs of God (Galatians 4).
But the Western definition of love that we should harm people to exercise our free to do anything we want imposes a culture of oppression on those without power so that we often do not experience the beauty of God’s true love except on Christmas. The powerful can justify not helping the powerless by arguing that help impinges on the freedom of the powerful because they must give something to help the powerless. The powerful calls this theft of their freedom not loving so that the powerless cannot claim legitimate help. Yet, the powerful still demand that the powerless support this freedom at the expense of losing the help the powerless need to live.
While love is freeing, it is not the freedom to do anything we want. Love is the boundaries on ourselves to give endlessly, and Christmas is God’s demonstration of this limitless giving of His Son to us.