On a cold Christmas Eve in 1952, when Korea was in the throes of civil war, one young woman struggled along a village street, obviously soon to deliver a child. She pleaded with passers-by, “Help me! Please. My baby.” No one paid any attention to her. A middle-aged couple walked by. The wife pushed away the young mother and sneered, “Where’s the father? Where’s your American man now?” The couple laughed and went on. The young woman almost doubled up from a contraction as she watched them go. “Please . . .” she begged. She had heard of a missionary living nearby who might help her. Hurriedly, she began walking to that village. If only he would help her baby. Shivering and in pain, she struggled over the frozen countryside. But the night was so cold. Snow began to fall. Realizing that the time was near to deliver her baby, she took shelter under a bridge. There, alone, her baby was born on Christmas Eve. Worried about her newborn son, she took off her own clothes, wrapped them around the baby and held him close in the warm circle of her arms. The next day, the missionary braved the new snow to deliver Christmas packages. As he walked along, he heard the cry of a baby. He followed the sound to a bridge. Under it, he found a young mother frozen to death, still clutching her crying new born son. The missionary tenderly lifted the baby out of her arms. When the baby was 10 years old, his now adoptive father told him the story of his mother’s death on Christmas Eve. The young boy cried, realizing the sacrifice his mother had made for him. The next morning, the missionary rose early to find the boy’s bed empty. Seeing a fresh set of small footprints in the snow outside, he bundled up warmly in a winter coat and followed the trail. It led back to the bridge where the young mother had died. As the missionary approached the bridge, he stopped, stunned. Kneeling in the snow was his son, naked and shivering uncontrollably. His clothes lay beside him in a small pile. Moving closer, he heard the boy say through chattering teeth: “Mother, were you this cold for me?”
That story reminds me of another mother and Son who sacrificed so much. One winter night, Jesus left his home, His glory and the warmth of heaven to be born in a stable to an unwelcome world. Just before He was born, Mary, His mother, was not welcome in any of the cozy inns in Bethlehem. Instead, she delivered her baby in the darkness of a cold stable. The Creator of the Universe, the Perfect Judge, was willing to endure this inauspicious beginning for you and me. That is unconditional love!
We who have experienced God’s unconditional love are commanded to share that love with others. John writes in 1 John 4:11, “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other” (New Living Translation). God wants us to express His incredible love to others. We become examples of God’s love to the world as we love our neighbors through the enabling of His Holy Spirit.
My prayer for you is the same as Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesians 3:17,18 “May your roots go down deep in to the soil of God’s marvelous love. 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 really is” (NLT ) .
You may confess, “I don’t have that kind of love to share with anyone.” To experience God’s supernatural love, claim it by faith. We have the potential to love anyone God puts in our path. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my Christian life is “how to love by faith.”
When we, by faith, invite God’s unconditional love to flow through us, we will discover a rekindled love that is alive and well. That is true for an “unlovable” spouse, boss, employee, or anyone.
Nothing breaks the hardened ground of unforgiveness and bitterness like sincere acts and words of love. Sometimes you and I, by faith, must take the first step of restoration. A positive response may not be immediate, but keep on loving and reaching out. God’s love is powerful!
by Bill Bright