In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment. His response was profoundly rooted in the Old Testament. He quoted from the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:5 – “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your mind.” This command was widely known and accepted by the religious community. In other words, they expected that answer.
His second response, though, would have caught them off guard. He quickly adds, “And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How in the world is loving your neighbor even remotely close to loving the Lord? After all, to love the Lord is easy, but to love your neighbor that’s often tough.
Here is what Jesus is saying: To love your neighbor is the tangible response to your love for God. It is one thing to say you love Jesus; it is quite another to show it. Your love for God is demonstrated by loving your neighbor.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
I John 4:20
This Christmas at Hollywood Community Church, we want YOU to love YOUR neighbor. In other words, we want you to do something loving, compassionate and generous for YOUR “neighbors.” You may ask, “what should I do?” That is totally up to you. This is not a campaign in which we tell you what to do, but rather a sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit as you seek His guidance and His direction.
- How many neighbors should you bless? However many the Holy Spirit puts on your heart.
- What should you give them? Whatever the Holy Spirit puts on your heart. Here are a few ideas…
Maybe the Holy Spirit would like you to give a…
- Financial gift
- A plate of cookies
- A gift card
- A loving act of service
We will provide beautiful heart-shaped cards that simply say, “God loves you… and so do we” for you to include with your gift.The rest is up to you. The cards will be available on Sunday, December 20th. That gives you ten days to begin to pray and ask God which neighbor or neighbors He would have you to share His love with them.
This Christmas, let’s be the heart and hands of Jesus as we love our neighbors in Jesus name!