When we think about prophets from Old Testament times, we usually think about people who spoke for God. In those days, prophecies were often about God’s wrath about the people’s sin, and the need for repentance. Jesus was also a prophet — but a very different kind. Like Old Testament prophets, he spoke for God and stated, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me,” (John 7:16) but he was more than previous prophets. John wrote, referring to Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Jesus was God himself.

At Christmastime, we celebrate this different kind of prophet, Jesus, coming into the world. Selflessly, Jesus left heaven, and went to the cross, taking on the burden of God’s wrath for us who believe, and giving us freedom and abundant life. (John 10:10) In his gospel, John declares, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) When Jesus came to us, he expressed God’s most important message: God loves the world. God loves us. God loves you.

This Christmas season, as we enjoy the gifts, lights and parties, let’s also listen to Jesus’ message from God, and live like it’s true. Even for Christians, it can be so easy to get caught up in the worldly trappings of Christmas, and forget that it’s all about love. I hear about people fighting over parking spaces or the hottest toys, and I wonder what that has to do with Jesus. Would Jesus want us to spend ourselves into the poorhouse just to have the newest gadget or biggest TV? Let’s let Jesus’ words and actions breathe life into us this Christmas season. Like Jesus, let’s selflessly share the gift of service and shine light into this dark world. Let’s live in continuous celebration of Jesus coming into the world, the ultimate prophet, with the ultimate message of love.