“Love is Patient, Love is Kind…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4,7
“Love is unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good.” C.S. Lewis
- Friends, thank you for taking the time to draw near to Jesus this morning. It is tempting to let the busyness of Christmas overshadow the purpose of Christmas as the day draws near. Know that God is so pleased with you, His dearly loved daughter, and He will bless you as you draw near to Him today.
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. Write a list of what love is and keep it in your mind as you read today’s study.
Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind
For all the times I’ve read and heard the gospels, I saw the story of Jesus’ life and ministry from a different perspective as I read the beginning chapters of Mark this morning. It must be because of the busy season in which I’m living, but what stands out to me is the way Jesus’ followers needed His constant teaching and attention, relentlessly pushing Him to the point of exhaustion. To me, their perpetual neediness and lack of concern for Jesus’ rest resembles that of small children relying on their mom. I’m writing this study in the early morning hours, creeping around my house in darkness like a tea-sipping ninja so I don’t wake my sleeping children. I feel ya, Jesus.
Often, when Jesus would go away to have alone time, His twelve Apostles and other followers would go out to find Him, and it wasn’t just for pressing needs. Mark 1:35-38 tells the first story of Jesus retreating for quiet time. He left very early in the morning while it was still dark; surely, they could manage without Him, Jesus must have thought. But, no. They probably hadn’t even had their cereal or brushed their teeth before they searched him out and exclaimed, “Everyone is looking for you!” I’m sorry, but that’s not a reason to disturb His quiet time: they simply noticed He was gone and wanted to locate Him. Sigh. I hope Jesus had a chance to finish His morning prayers and coffee first.
It’s amazing how closely Jesus’ relationship with His disciples resembles a mother’s relationship with her children, and that’s no coincidence. Our most important job as parents is to lovingly disciple our children, to teach them how to live and how to love. Jesus gave us the perfect example. He never seemed bitter or angry with those who honestly sought His wisdom and help. In His life on earth, Jesus modeled how to disciple spiritual children, which certainly includes your actual children. Even before sacrificing himself on the cross, Jesus laid His life down for his spiritual children every day. He embodied love in patience, kindness, humility, mercy, and perseverance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Friends, Jesus gets it; He came to earth to live as a human and prove that He understands all of our struggles, temptations, and hardships. It is such a joy to do life with my kids—my tribe—but being a mom can be utterly exhausting. It is like being on call 24/7, and those little ones can be slave-drivers at times. I am continually tempted to lose patience or harbor misdirected bitterness, but then I remember Jesus’ example of responding in gentleness and love. Every. Single. Time. And so I accept Jesus’ grace for me, model that grace for my children as best I can, and strive to live a life of love (Ephesians 5:2).
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth this Christmas, let’s celebrate His life and ministry as well. Let’s take in His love and let it flow through us to our children, our families, and our communities. As you give neatly wrapped presents and colorful cookies, pray that God will use your gifts and service to show true love and bless the recipients. This may seem like a difficult charge just days before Christmas, but Christ’s love gives us the capacity to love well: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Jesus was patient and loving with His followers. He was obliged to help them and teach them day after day; however, He took care of himself as well, renewing his own mind and spirit by regularly retreating with God. Do you follow this example—serving others and renewing your own spirit?
- What can you do to follow Jesus’ example more closely?
In the coming days, you may become increasingly busy serving your friends and family, so be mindful of your spirit. Take time to retreat to read your Bible, listen to worship music, journal, or pray. God does not demand all of your time and attention, but you must give Him some of it. Jesus’ miracles of multiplying wine for a wedding and multiplying fish and bread to feed the multitudes show us how God can do so much more with a little than we can do with a lot. However, we must give Him something with which to work.
Make it a point to start every single day with Jesus, regardless of how busy you are. You wouldn’t celebrate your child’s birthday by going out with your friends and leaving the birthday child at home, so make sure you’re bringing Jesus along for all the festivities of his birthday! Here are some simple ways to start your day with Christ this Christmas:
- Purchase your favorite worship song on iTunes and set it as your alarm clock. I wake up every morning to “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman or my favorite verses on Songs for Saplings (Merry – Proverbs 17:21, Patient – 1 Thessalonians 5:14, and Joy – Habakkuk 3:18).
- Say a prayer of Thanksgiving out loud immediately after waking. Tell God how much you love Him and ask for His help throughout the day.
- Read one verse that you can ponder throughout the day. Start collecting verses you love in a journal or on your phone. You can start with one of the verses from this study or the Bible app by YouVersion, which has some beautiful Bible verse graphics you can save as the wallpaper on your phone or computer.