When you think of love stories, what comes to your mind? “Romeo and Juliet” were the first to come to my mind, followed closely by the more modern-day Romeo and Juliet: “Titanic.” Shakespeare and others have no doubt written some great love stories. I’ve read Romeo and Juliet, seen the movie and watched my share of romantic comedies and other love stories (marriage does require compromise after all), but the greatest love story of all is much older than anything to come from Hollywood or even Shakespeare. The greatest love story of all involves both God and all of humanity; it is woven through the fabric of time.
It was out of love that God created us. He had the angels in heaven who love and worshipped Him, but they were designed created exclusively for that purpose. God wanted to create someone for Him to love, who could make the choice to love Him or to not love Him. Enter Adam and Even. Though Adam and Eve did their best, the temptation was too great, and sin entered the world. This one action changed the course of EVERYTHING. Hell became more than a holding place for Satan and his minions. It became our destination-apart from a better plan.
Knowing what had to be done, God sent His Son Jesus to earth, away from heaven. On earth, Jesus would live life like you and me, except that He was also God. On earth, He experienced most if not everything you and I experience: physical pain, emotional highs and lows, anger, love, loss of loved ones and maybe even heart-break. He chose to experience all these things. Toward the end of His time on earth, He was betrayed, abandoned, tortured, beaten, and eventually executed. To what end? So that we can be with Him forever in heaven, not in hell separated from Him. It all started with the quiet birth in a manger. No press releases to the masses, birth announcements in the newspapers, or celebration in the streets. Just an announcement by some angels to some shepherds, and a star to mark the birthplace.
Many love stories end in death like Romeo and Juliet or Titanic. Though the love story between God and humanity includes death, it is not the end of the story. Jesus did die on the cross, but He came back from the dead and rose again to show his power over death and to give us all eternal life. That is why I celebrate Christmas. It is the beginning of the greatest love story ever told.