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Loving the Unlovable

Devotional Text: Luke 15:1-7

In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is assigned the task of purchasing a Christmas tree for the Christmas pageant. In a Christmas tree lot of big, shiny, brightly-colored, indestructible aluminum trees—any one of which would have satisfied Charlie Brown’s friends and enemies back home—Charlie Brown instead falls in love with the smallest, the ugliest, the weakest, the most despised little tree. “This little green tree needs a home,” he said. “I think it will be perfect. I think it needs me.”

I’m reminded of a story that Jesus told about a shepherd. The shepherd has a hundred sheep, and he loses one. Just one little sheep! Who could miss such an insignificant thing?

Well, the shepherd in the parable missed it, and he searches high and low for it. And when he finds it, Jesus says, the shepherd is overjoyed. He carries it on his shoulders and brings it home where it belongs. “Celebrate with me,” he tells his friends and family and neighbors, “because I’ve found my lost sheep.”

Charlie Brown is excited to rescue that little tree, bring it into the auditorium, and place it on Schroeder’s toy piano. His friends and enemies, however, are not excited. They don’t love the little tree the way Charlie Brown does. In fact, they transfer their hatred and scorn for the tree to Charlie Brown himself—and Charlie Brown bears the brunt of their hatred. He’s rejected, scorned, ridiculed, abandoned.

Do you hear the gospel in this?

Christmas means that God himself, through his Son Jesus, came into this world because God loves us and wants to save us. It was as if God said, “These lost human beings need a home. They’ve made a mess of their lives and this good world through sin, but I can fix it. I think they’ll be perfect. They need me to save them, to rescue them, to carry them home.” God loves the smallest, the ugliest, the weakest, and the most despised. Which means God loves sinners like you and me! And God rescues us so that we can be at home with God where we belong.

Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd has come to rescue you, too. Will you agree to be rescued? Will you let him carry you home. If you haven’t already, will you accept for yourself God’s gift of salvation?

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