December 10 – Jesse Tree Story Day 11
The big theme for today is love. As I look at my blue-and-white shining Christmas pine with memories hanging here and there, I’m drawn to my favorite ornaments—a set of 20 hand-crocheted baby blue angels scattered about the tree. My old babysitter Mrs. Eash, who became an adopted Grandma to me, sat in the old folks’ home about 12 years ago making these for me and my new husband, since she was too feeble to make it to our wedding, and because she wanted us to know that she loved us and to have something in our home that pointed us to Jesus at Christmas. She has since passed, but her love for us endures on year after year on our Christmas tree. Do you have an ornament like this on your tree that carries all kinds of love and good memories? I would love to hear about it! Please share in the comments below.
READ: Exodus 19:1-20:20
600,000 men, not counting women and children, wandered in the desert trying to reach God’s Promised Land. God provided water, manna, and quail along the way; He took good care of His people because He loved them.
Three months into their journey, God met Moses on Mt. Sinai and gave him a set of rules for the Israelites, also because He loved them. God loved them so much that He was willing to spell out for them exactly what they needed to do to please Him. I bet our loved ones wish we would do the same for them so they don’t have to guess at how to keep us happy. Our kids think they have this figured out; isn’t that what the Christmas Wish List is for?
Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift translates the Ten Commandments into the language of love:
The Ten Commandments are more than God saying, “Here are My rules of law for you”; they are God saying, “Here is My real love for you.”
Commandments 1-2: “Here, I take you to be Mine, and you will be the one I will love more than anything—so have nothing in your life you love more than Me.”
Commandment 3: “Here, I give you My name—My very name to make you Mine—so please do not say My name without love.”
Commandment 4: “Here, I want nothing more than to spend time with you, holy time just for you and Me—so set apart one day every week for you and Me to enjoy each other.”
Commandments 5-10: “Here, I love you, special one—so don’t want what others have, because I will give you what you need. So don’t lie, because My forever-love for you means you never have to be afraid of telling the truth. So don’t steal from others, because I promise I will always, always give you what you need. So don’t murder anyone in anger, because My love for you will always soothe away any anger.”
Why do you think God gave us the Ten Commandments?
We’re not perfect; we can’t possibly obey all of these commandments all the time. God knows that. He still loves us. We need forgiveness, so He gave us a Savior. He sent His Son Jesus to perfectly obey all of His commandments and to be all-pleasing to Him because we can’t. All ten of these commandments were summed up by Jesus in the two most important commands for us to keep (from Matthew 22:35-40):
- Love God above all (Commandments 1-4) and
- Love others (Commandments 5-10).
It really is all about love! Love comes from the heart, not from the sense of a checklist that needs to get done. If we become legalistic in following God’s commands, we lose the part where God desires to have a personal relationship with each one of us and grow His love inside of us which will lead to us following His commands out of an abundance of love in our hearts.
My job is to love You with all of my heart, my soul, and my mind. Out of the overflow that You give to my heart from spending time with You to accomplish this, I can love and serve others.
God, please help my Christmas preparations be from an overflowing heart of love straight from You. Thank You for filling my cup each day! Please forgive me for Your command that I broke yesterday; You know which one. Help me to set the reset button and get back in the center of Your will.