We use the “L” word a lot. We say we love our new shoes, love our friend’s dress, or loved the Christmas party. The passionate love we most often see depicted in movies is in the infatuation stage. But love is so much more than feeling partial to a new pair of shoes, a pretty dress, a celebration with friends, or the intense feelings at the beginning of a relationship.
Here are some examples of love I’ve noticed. I’m sure you could add a few of your own.
Love looks like the man who moves into a retirement home prematurely because his wife in the adjoining room had a stroke when they were still in the throes of living out their dreams together.
Love looks like the woman who stands firm and cares for her husband in the midst of his battle with Parkinson’s disease that arrived with aggression when many more adventures still awaited them.
Love looks like the man who daily goes to the long-term care facility and sits beside his unconscious wife who hasn’t woken up in two years. Despite what the doctor and his family says, he holds her motionless hand, praying and hoping for the miraculous.
Love looks like the man who brought his wife coffee in bed, but learned that’s not her preference. Instead, he quietly sneaks out each morning without waking her to prepare the coffee for when she gets up so they can sit on the couch and enjoy it together.
Love looks like the exhausted, nursing mother who rises numerous times a night for months to nourish and comfort her colicky baby.
Love looks like the newlywed who – though formerly a wallflower – takes dancing lessons with his wife because he knows she longs to dance with him.
Love looks like the son who – despite having better things to do – proof reads his mother’s blogs so she doesn’t make a fool of herself.
Love looks like the Man who hung on a tree for mankind though He himself had done nothing wrong. His was a love so great it was willing to come, to stay with us for a time, and teach us first-hand how to love. He healed the sick and loved the broken and unlovable. He offered hope and showed us how to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He shouldered the sin of the world and poured out love until death. Even in His last breath He loved by forgiving those who were crucifying Him. This Lover is Jesus.
Here is what the Bible tells us love looks like:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:4-8)
Love often looks more like the mundane than the movies. It’s loving the lined face long after physical beauty has faded. It’s serving the other in sickness – and in health. It’s staying when things are tough or the situation looks hopeless. Love cheers the other on. It respects and celebrates differences. Love forgives. And for all these and many more, that makes love – though mundane in its everydayness – miraculous. In its fullness, love is the fearless laying down of our lives for another. This may look as simple as giving up our preferences and our comfort, or as difficult as overlooking an offense.
This Christmas, may you see the love of Jesus anew, feel it in your heart, and receive it fully. May you look for ways to selflessly love those in your midst, laying down your life for them. May you speak your love in words and show it by your actions. May you even give undeserved love to an offender and offer forgiveness and blessing – just as Jesus did for us.
Bless you this Christmas Season! Be filled to overflowing with God’s miraculous love! If you’re up to sharing, I’d “love” to hear some of your love stories too!
- Think of some ways you can be intentional about loving those closest to you. Write them down and act on them each day leading up to Christmas.
- Is there a person you need to forgive? Extend love and release your offender(s).