Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I am sure that most of you are familiar with an old song, sung by Foreigner - I Want to Know What Love Is. It is a very soulful song about heartache, pain and love. In it, the singer pleads for someone to show him what love is. I think we have all been through periods in our lives where we don’t feel loved and we wish that someone would just show us what love really is. I know I have.
I remember one of the first times I felt bereft of love. I was reeling from the heartbreak of my first love. I felt at the time that nothing could fill the gaping hole in my heart. I desperately wanted to know what love really was. If the depth of love that I felt for my first love was not lasting, if that was not what love was, then what is love? During that time, as I cried, prayed and healed - I found out what love is. My Jesus, whom I had known since I was a child, came right along beside me and showed me a love much greater than I had ever known was possible. He filled that gaping hole in my heart then, and he has done so during many heartbreaking times since. I don’t need my husband, my kids, my friends or my family to define for me what love is. For me love has already been defined. It is summed up in one word - Jesus.
Jesus. He is why I celebrate Christmas. Oh, I know Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25th. He probably wasn’t even born in the winter, but that doesn’t matter. I also know about the origins of Christmas. We Christians were not the first people to have a celebration in December. That doesn’t matter to me either. That is not to say that I begrudge people of other religions and faiths their own celebrations, I enjoy learning about their traditions, but I celebrate Christmas, as Jesus' birthday- the birth of love.
My house is all decked out for Christmas right now. This year the day after Thanksgiving, the time I usually start pulling out the trees and the ornaments, I wasn't feeling it. It just seemed like a lot of work, not the joy that it usually is. I wasn't feeling the Spirit or whatever you want to call it, but I decided to start the process anyway, because it was important to my youngest son. He loves to decorate for Christmas almost as much as I usually do. So, out came the boxes upon boxes of decorations.
I have been collecting decorations and adding to my stash for over 20 years now. Every ornament has a story. There are the Victorian ornaments that I bought for the first real tree I had when I was living on my own. They represent my independence. Then there are the ornaments I am collecting for my children. Each one has a child’s name and the year. Some have been purchased and others, I have handmade. Each of my four children will have a collection of ornaments for their own tree when they are grown and ready to have their own Christmas trees. They represent the traditions of our family. There are also those ornaments made by the kids through the years with the clumps of glue and the sequins falling off. Each one gives a glimpse of who that child was at that moment. They represent the passing years and the growth of the children. We have other ornaments adorning our trees as well; they are all beautiful and meaningful in their own way. I treasure them all.
As I decorated the house I started to catch the buzz. I started a frenzy of wanting the decor to look "perfect", as if that mattered. I reminded myself not to get caught up in the tinsel and glitter, but to focus on what, to me, is the most important thing ever - the most important person ever - Jesus Christ. I began to be filled with his love and I recalled the holes that he has filled in my heart over the years.
He has filled those holes, in order that I am able to hold on to the love that people who have come into my life have shared with me. If He had not filled me up with his love, covering over those holes, then the love of others would just ooze out through the holes of heartache, pain, disappointment, sadness and hurt. Yes, he has shown me what love is. He has filled all the holes and I am able to give and receive love, because, while I was not worthy of His love, he gave it anyway. He demonstrated a kind of pure love for me, and once I received it, and I saw it for what it was, my life was changed.
I wish all who read this Happy Holidays, and for those of you who celebrate Jesus’ birth with me, I wish you a Merry Christmas. May the love of Jesus fill up your holes and make you whole.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.