A Love Letter From God For Christmas
Published 4:44 pm Thursday, December 22, 2011
God doesn't do a lot of talking in The Bible. God lets actions speak louder than words. In The New Testament, God speaks once.
There is so much to be said between heaven and earth, so many secrets to share, so many insights to give, so many directions that might be revealed. Think about it. If we were going to be able to speak just once in our lives, what-among all the possible words about all the possible things-might we say?
As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it is instructive to think ahead to when the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes began his public ministry. God spoke immediately after the baptism of Jesus and what God says is this, “You are my son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Of all the vowels and consonants in the world, God spoke into these:
“I love you.”
“You are my beloved.”
God is love, so what else would God say to Jesus?
What else would God say to us?
We, too, are God's beloved children. With us God is also well pleased. Fully embracing this truth can revolutionize your heart and redeem the bruised and broken corners in your soul. Can you imagine, then, what God might say to us in an entire letter?
A friend of mine received such a letter. No, my friend doesn't believe God actually typed the three pages of single-spaced sentences. But he does believe very strongly that God's Holy Spirit moved someone to type this letter and mail it to him. We can all act as agents and angels from God for each other so I believe my friend's faith is well-placed. In truth and in effect, my friend knows the letter is from God to him and it is part of his daily morning prayer and meditation.
Extraordinarily, the words spoken by God frequently are often directly from my friend's favorite and much-leaned upon Biblical passages of scripture and there are references that are true, specifically, to my friend's life. How anyone other than God would know what those passages and references meant, well, my friend has no explanation other than God's own heart.
It would take too much space to share the entire letter, but here is something of what it says, to my friend and, I too believe, to us all, just as a single letter, or epistle, from an Apostle to an early Christian community speaks beyond those to whom it was addressed. This is also a logical conclusion, not simply a leap of faith. Because so much of what is in the letter comes straight from Biblical passages, it is, in fact, written to all of us between those covers. All we need to do is view the Bible as one great big huge love letter from God to us all.
Which is exactly what the Bible is-especially, I believe, the New Testament.
“To my precious child.”
That is how the letter begins to my friend and to us. “To my precious child.
“Because I knew even before I created the earth that you would accept my love for you, and that you would seek to know Me, thus in the beginning I created the heavens and the earth. Then at the right time and in the right place I created you. I created your innermost being. I created every part of you. I knit you together in your mother's womb.
You were carefully and wonderfully made; my works are wonderful and you, my precious child, are my work.
My eyes saw your unformed body. All the days planned for you were written in my book before one of them came to be. How precious are my thoughts for you. How great is the number of them. If you were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Listen to me, My precious child; I created you and have cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. I will carry you in my arms, holding you close to my heart. For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
My precious child, there are some times of suffering in your life. But the temporary suffering of this life does not compare to the glory that shall be revealed in you.
Know this-that I am with you and I will help you. Your help comes from me. I am the God who created the heavens and the earth, and the one who created you.
I will never leave you.
I will never reject you.
Nothing can ever separate you from my love for you. My precious child know that nothing can separate you from my love, no matter how high you go, no matter how deep you sink, nothing in life and not even death can separate you from Me and My love for you.
My love for you is revealed through Christ Jesus your Lord. In all things and every situation you will have victory, you will conquer, because the victory of Christ Jesus is your victory.
But now, my precious child, I the Lord, who created you and formed you, says: do not be afraid, for I have purchased you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep water and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, they will not over flow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.
I command you to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be dismayed, for I, the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.
My precious child, know that everything will work together for your good, because you love me. You have been called according to my purpose. For I knew you before you were born and I predestined you to be conformed to the likeness of my Son, Jesus Christ.
This is your destiny, and this is your purpose, that you become one with my Son Jesus, and thus one with me. I created you in my image so that you and I can express love for each other. The most intimate relationship you can have is with me because you and I are becoming one.
You and your brothers and sisters that believe in me are becoming one with Jesus, and thus one with me. You in me, and me in you, together, unified by my love for you.
My precious child, I want you to do these things also: have compassion on the poor and needy and help them. This is what it means to know me. For I am Love, and when you live in love you live in Me, and I live in you. Loving compassion is good, and this is what I require from you, to do what is right, to love compassion, and to walk humbly with your God.
Forever and ever My love is with you.
My law is to love. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments all of My laws are based.
When you walk in love you are obeying My laws. When you walk in Love you are walking in My Holy Spirit for I am love!
My precious child come and live in My shelter, in the protection of the Most High God, you will find rest in the presence of the Almighty. You will say, 'This I declare of the Lord; he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I am trusting Him.
My precious child, when you asked Me to forgive your sins and come into your heart I sent My Holy Spirit into you to comfort you, to give you power, and as proof to you that I have adopted you as My child.
The Holy Spirit shall lead you into all truth because He shall testify of Jesus, and He will give you power to testify of Jesus. I will speak to you through my Holy Spirit that is in you. He will tell you what is right and wrong, what is love and hate. My Holy Spirit is a gentle whisper inside your heart telling you the path to walk in.
If you walk in My Spirit you will walk in love, you will not sin. And you will see great and mighty things happen before you. They will not be accomplished by strength, nor by outside force, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.
Through My Spirit I shall give you supernatural gifts that you may be blessed, and that you shall bless others through demonstrating My love for them.
My Holy Spirit will be with you throughout your whole life, and after I will receive you into My glory…”
Those words are some of the thoughts in my friend's letter from God. There is three or four times more but in every passage God's love for us shines like a beacon in the night.
Even when the letter addresses sin, God laments that sin because sin, and I quote the letter here, “will separate you from feeling my Presence, and My influence, and I want you to return to your first love, the One who loves you.”
The One who loves us all.
The great theologian Henri Nouwen has written an entire book-The Life Of The Beloved-to help us all understand that we are very much the beloved of God, God's sons and daughters, as was Jesus.
Prayer is the door of understanding through which we walk, according to Nouwen, but a different kind of prayer that leads us to the declaration of our own belovedness.
“For me personally,” Nouwen writes, “I realize that, although I have a tendency to say many things to God, the real work of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me. This might sound self-indulgent, but, in practice, it is a hard discipline. I am so afraid of being cursed, of hearing that I am no good or not good enough, that I quickly give in to the temptation to start talking and to keep talking in order to control my fears.
“To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and trust that I will hear a voice of blessing,” Nouwen writes, “that demands real effort.
“It is not easy,” he continues, “to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of our world and to discover there the small intimate voice saying: 'You are my Beloved Child, on you my favor rests.'”
“Still, if we dare to embrace our solitude and befriend our silence, we will come to know that voice,” Nouwen tells us through us own experience. “A voice that can be heard by the ear of faith, the ear of inner heart.”
Though we have the Bible and its words of love, most of us will never receive an actual letter from God, delivered in the mail along with our monthly bills and weekly magazines.
But there are letters collecting in the mailbox of our inner heart.
Let us open those love letters to us from God, and walk in love with the One who loves us.
The one who has always loved us.
And the one who always will.
We know that to be true because Jesus Christ is the ultimate love letter from God.
His life and message of love.
His death and message of love.
His resurrection and message of love.
They are individually addressed to each of us.
And there is no sleet, no snow, and no dark of night that can prevent their delivery.
All that we have to do is open them, read them, and believe, accepting unconditional love unconditionally.