Here’s our word for the day: first. Like, first in line, in a race, in a contest, or first when a meal is served. In our childhood’s we wanted to be first. Yet, most adults around us advocated that we learn to wait our turn. Being first is good, and bad. The bad part of being first is selfishness. There are good things about first.
First is good when we think of human needs. First is wonderful when you are thirsty. The first swallow of fresh clean water is delightful. So is that first sip of coffee in the morning. It is great when you are really hungry and you put that first bite in your mouth. First is heavenly when you are really tired and you lay your head on the pillow to sleep.
First is magnificent in nature. We have arrived at the time of first cold, freezing cold. The first ice sculptures on the edges of lake are stunning figures of water in solid state. First cold brings resplendent beauty. First cold causes humans to bring out caps, jackets, mittens, even boots. It brings a cold refreshment to exposed skin. First cold makes first warmth upon returning inside a simple delight. First cold brings migration. Just the thought of geese, swans, ducks and songbirds on the move to unfrozen water and available food is thrilling…seriously. Hearing the haunting beauty of the first fall calls of migrating tundra swans puts goosebumps on my skin. Back to first ice, it represents a major change in all bodies of water. Ice seals the lake or wetland for a season of cold, a season of darkness and quiet beneath the frozen sheet. That season has come now.
Thinking about “first” brings us to the most important first. It is a true first that changes everything for every human past, present and future. This first is about love-the love of God. This is the core of that truth: God loves us first. We do not know how indescribably good this is. God loves us first. When God loves us first that means he loved us before we breathed our first breaths. He loved us before we could delight in this earth he made-for us to live on and delight in. Because God loves us first, that means all of our bad junk-lies, coveting, hate-you know all of the evil we do-is already covered. What came first God’s love or my sin? This is not a trick question. Because God loved us first, all of our evil behaviors are already covered by the love of an eternal living God. 1 John 4:19 says, “we love because he first loved us.”
Firsts in nature are delightful. They occur every season. The most important reason nature firsts are wonderful is that they remind us of God’s great first love. As first ice forms, as Tundra swans fly overhead, let your heart be at peace as these signs of God’s power also remind you of His everlasting first love for you and me. God loves us first even though he knew we would not deserve it, he loved us first anyway. This is the best first of all.