In the Bible, First Corinthians Chapter Thirteen is often referred to the “Love Chapter.” You may have heard it read at weddings and other special occasions. Here’s my “rewrite rendition” for Christmas 2016.
If I decorate my house perfectly with beautiful Christmas decorations, and find the perfect tree, and fill it with strands of twinkling lights and shiny, expensive ornaments, but do not show love to my family and friends, I’m just another home decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and setting a beautiful table, but do not have love in my heart for those with whom I will share the meal, I’m just another cook.
If I hand-tie a comfy fleece blanket for a child who lives in a shelter, and if I sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home, and give money to the bell-ringer for Salvation Army, but do not have love in my heart, it profits me nothing.
If I put up the nativity set, and set up a dazzling display of outdoor Christmas lights, and sing cantatas in the church choir, and visit the sick and shut-in, but do not give thanks to Jesus for coming to earth as my savior, I have missed the point of Christmas.
Love stops cooking to hug a child or spouse or friend in need.
Love sets aside decorating to listen to someone who is hurting or afraid.
Love is kind, even if stressed to the max.
Love doesn’t envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens…and candles that don’t drip on the table cloth.
Love doesn’t get angry at long traffic lights at major intersections and with irritable shoppers in retail stores, or those who park their cars while taking up two spaces in the overcrowded parking lot.
Love doesn’t give presents only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t begin to reciprocate.
Love remembers those who lived and died in service to our country, and for all emergency personnel who work overtime during this holiday season to keep us safe.
Love reaches out to others who are hurting, and to those who are homeless, and to those who are grieving.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
China and glassware and ornaments will break, silverware and jewelry will tarnish, tools and golf clubs and fishing poles will rust, games and electronic toys and gifts will become outdated and discarded.
But the gift of Love will endure forever.
During this Christmas season, may we receive God’s Love anew. And then in turn, may we be generous in sharing that Love with others…especially those most in need of Love. Merry Christmas!