Too often people wish each other "Merry Christmas" but do not stop to think what there is to be merry about. Christmas is merry because a child was born that would show us true love, said a Florida megachurch pastor during the Christmas Eve service.
God in the form of Jesus showed mankind that deep love is sacrificial and "costs a lot," said Pastor Joel C. Hunter of a Northland, A Church Distributed in Orlando.
"Love always has a price. It always needs a sacrifice and that is why the manger would one day become the cross," Hunter said Friday. "Do you know why people don't love deeply? Because it costs so much and because there are so many cheap alternatives. You can't love like that and follow Jesus."
Following Jesus is a personal choice and if you choose to identify with him there is a price, the megachurch pastor said. The price of love is to have "your heart wrenched or sometimes broken."
"Jesus knew that and he chose it anyhow," said Hunter.
During his sermon, the well-known evangelical leader shared with trembling voice how he can understand more deeply this year why God chose to come as a baby and not as a powerful general or king. There is power in a child like none other, he said.
"Our family learned this year that more than any power, the power of a child to change your whole life," said Hunter, "to make you ever mindful of heaven."
Hunter's five-year-old granddaughter, Ava Hunter, passed away from brain cancer this fall. He said that because of her death, heaven is no longer a then-and-there place but somewhere he thinks about and longs for everyday.
"Did God know what he was doing sending a child? Oh, he really knew what he was doing," said Hunter.
In total, Northland Church held eight Christmas Eve services among its campuses on Friday.