Advent

Week 2: Love

I was eight years old when it happened. It was the first time I can remember being completely out of control with rage. My younger brother stood under our backyard monkey bars, hands stretching towards the sky, whining at me to lift him up. “No!” I barked, “Just climb the ladder,” I said, knowing full-well he couldn’t reach even from there. He jumped as high as any four-year-old could over and over with no success. His next attempt would be more daring. I watched as the little guy toddled to our wagon, pulled it into position, and climbed on top. No luck. He still couldn’t reach, and I remember thinking that we’d probably both get in trouble if Mom saw what he had set out to do. “Help me! I want to reach!,” he continued, his voice high-pitched and nasally. He was so irritating! I couldn’t take it anymore. Without hesitation, I allowed my anger to consume me, and I kicked the wagon as hard as I could.

words + photograph PIPER WRIGHT

The screams that followed would be enough to send my mom and dad both running out of the house. What had I done? I had never felt like such a horrible person. My parents rushed to check on my brother, who thankfully survived with just a few minor cuts, and then turned to me. I was fully prepared for the worst. But instead of yelling and screaming and being harsh with me, which is what I knew I deserved, they chose to discipline with love. Pure, unconditional love lived out through two people who could have easily unleashed their wrath on me and had every right to do so. I don’t remember the specifics of my consequences, but I will never forget those three words. We love you. The guilt and shame of what I’d done produced a brokenness in me I had never known before, and I sobbed while they held me. How? I had not only done something despicable, I had done it to their only son. Despite my actions, they loved me. I couldn’t comprehend it.

My parents’ love for me through my moment of weakness was a beautiful glimpse into the depths of God’s love. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 3:18-19 that God’s love for us is so great that we, as mere humans, will never be able to fully grasp it. “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.”

God certainly has a heart for His people. In fact, God is love, and He calls us to love others the way He loves us. But how do we know God loves us? The proof is in His son, Jesus. 1 John 4:9-10 explains that “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” It’s pretty mind blowing. God sent His only son to this earth as a tiny human baby to be the savior of the world.

As we approach the Christmas season, may we reflect on God’s great love for us. A love so astounding we don’t have to do anything to deserve it, and we can never escape it.

So No Matter What You’re Feeling This Christmas Season. No Matter What You’ve Done Or Who You Think You’ve Become. You Are Loved With The Perfect, Complete, Unconditional Love Of God.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Let that sink in for a moment. While we were still sinners. God knew when he sent Jesus to earth the humble manager He was placed in as an innocent baby would eventually lead to the cross He would hang on as an innocent savior. And yet God loves us so profoundly He carried out the plan anyway. There is no greater love. Christmas is the perfect picture of peace and hope and joy. But it all started with love. So no matter what you’re feeling this Christmas season. No matter what you’ve done or who you think you’ve become. You are loved with the perfect, complete, unconditional love of God. And He has proven it by sending Jesus, a beacon of hope in a dark world. May you experience God’s never-ceasing, always and forever love today and every day. And may we never forget to show others that same love. PW

Piper Wright is an elementary P.E. teacher and coach in Republic, Missouri. She and husband, Curtis, have two little boys, Ellis and Merrick


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