“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.” 1 John 4:9

Today, we continue our ADVENT celebration with LOVE, the Angel Candle.

I want to unfold this topic together with you. So, go grab your Bible, your journal, and a pen. 🙂 There are some questions I want you to keep in mind while you are breaking down this scripture.

1. Why was there a manger?
2. What was the importance of the manger?
3. Why was there a cross?
4. What was the importance of the cross?

Re-read our focus verse, 1 John 4:9. 

Open your journal, and write the verse at the top of the page. Spend some time mapping out this verse. You can download the Bible Mapping Guide, or follow along writing in your own journal. I have provided my “map” below.

I would love to know what God unfolded to you when you mapped out that verse. Please leave a comment or tag us on social media using #UMbiblemapping.

As I was working through my Bible Map of this verse, the word LOVE, kept resonating within my spirit. This is the week of Advent where we celebrate Love, but there is a difference with God’s LOVE. Let me introduce you to AGAPE LOVE.


This isn’t the love that I feel toward John, or my children. It’s not the love I have for my family or my friends. It’s surely not the love I feel for those that have caused me harm or grief.


AGAPE LOVE originates from God.

God doesn’t just love; HE IS LOVE. Love originates from God and is of God. Because God is my Savior, His Agape Love is an intentional love that stirs up within my flesh by the Holy Spirit. I love (pun intended) the way Matthew Henry talks about this passage of scripture.

He says,

“For love is of God. He is the fountain, author, parent, and commander of love; it
is the sum of his law and gospel: And every one that loveth (whose spirit is
framed to judicious holy love) is born of God, v. 7. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of
love. The new nature in the children of God is the offspring of his love: and the
temper and complexion of it is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love, Gal. 5:22. Love
comes down from heaven.”

I could stop right there and camp out for a while. Let’s take a flesh approach, our natural response to love.

Merriam-Webster defines love as both a noun and a verb.

As a noun, it’s defined as:

● a strong affection for another
● an attraction of sexual desire
● an affection of admiration or common interests
● warm attachment or devotion
● a fatherly or brotherly affection for one another

As a verb, it’s define as:

● the act of holding dear
● to cherish
● to feel a lover’s passion
● devotion
● to caress
● to like or desire actively
● take pleasure in
● to thrive in

Using a spiritual approach, how does love look and feel different? Take a moment and write out your answer in your journal. I’ll wait. 😉

Now, looking back at 1 John 4: 8-9, we learn God is love and love is of God. So let’s grab a few more verses within that chapter.

“7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.” I John 4: 7-11

What are we called to do in verse 7? _____________________________________
Where is love from? _________________________________________________
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ what do you do? ________________________

Turn to Romans 5:8.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How did God show us His love? _______________________________________
Look back at 1 John 4:9. How did God show us His love? _____________________
In verse 10, why did God send His Son? _________________________________

Turn to Hebrews 2:17 in your Bible and highlight it.

“Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers
and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then
He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.”

What two things did Christ do for us?

1. ___________________________________________________________
2. __________________________________________________________

Read 1 John 4:11. What are we called to do? ______________________________
Why are we called to do that? _______________________________________
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Love. The manager was necessary because God knew we needed the CROSS. Both the manager and the cross are demonstrations of God’s love. His AGAPE LOVE.

Keep loving God. Keep loving others. Keep sharing the Good News of the Gospel, from
the Manger to the Cross.


  • ● Our call to action is simple yet so complex. God calls us to love the same way He loves. God is within us, thus our spirit has power over our flesh. Although it’s a battle, it is one that with God, we have victory over. It must be intentional. (Galatians 5:16-26).
    ● This week, pray through God’s AGAPE LOVE as you seek His Word, growing your LOVE fruit.
    ● Download and complete the Bible Study Worksheet on Advent: Agape Love
    ● Choose 3 ways you can love others with an AGAPE LOVE.

Merry CHRISTmas, 


Heather McVey, a speaker and accidental writer, has a passion for connecting the dots of God’s Word. Her mission is focused on teaching women how to unfold the scriptures within their own life, encouraging and equipping them to walk worthy of their calling. Learn more about her in Meet Heather.

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