Saw this bumper sticker on a Volvo earlier today: "Love wins."
"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." Joseph, a righteous man, takes Mary home; raises her son as his own. Love wins.
Twelve years later Mary and Joseph search hysterically through a web of streets and alleys for their lost son. Racked with fear for what might be, they find him sitting among the elders, a child prodigy impressing the old men with the depth of his questions. "Why did you do this to us, Jesus?!" "I had to be about my Father's business," is his matter-of-fact reply. Love wins.
The lawyers want to kill her. No one comes to her defense, no one disagrees. She's a whore, after all. What is more, she's a tool they can use to trap the carpenter-turned-rabbi from Nazareth. "What should we do with her, Jesus?" "Whichever of you who is innocent . . . clean . . . without blemish . . . you throw the first rock." Love wins.
Standing outside a tomb. Mary and Martha pull their cloaks over their mouths and noses. After three days, the stench will only magnify the pain of losing their brother, their protector, provider, legitimizer. "Lazarus, come forth!" Shuffling from his tomb he comes, dragging his death clothes with him. Love wins.
"Father, let this cup pass from me. . ." He prays in the garden. He doesn't want to die. His Spirit wages war with His flesh. The pain of an agonized death versus the pain of a lost humanity. "Yet not my will, but yours, Father." Love wins.
"Eloi, eloi lama sabachtani?" "God, why have you forsaken me?" "Abba! Where are you daddy?" He gives up His spirit, slumps forward, breathing stops, the struggle ceases. Love wins.
Peter and John race to the tomb. John, the faster, out paces his old fishing partner. Jesus is not there. Mary says He is risen. She says she's seen him with her own eyes! Christ is risen; He is risen indeed! Love wins!
The sky splits. Angels descend. Riding on a cloud, surrounded in light, trumpets blaring, He returns to call His own to His side. No more night; no more death or pain; no more tears. God dwells among them. They are His people, and He is there God. Satan banished to the pit, nevermore to assail.
Put that on your Christmas cards this season.
Let those two words inspire and motivate you to greatness.
Christian brother, Christian sister, you win. I win. Because . . .