December 12, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
The words of 1 Corinthians 13 are probably the most beautiful words ever written about love. We most often hear this reading at weddings: "If I speak in the tongues of angels but have not love, I am a clanging cymbal....love is patient, love is kind....."
I recently came across a paraphrase of this passage as it applies to our preparations for Christmas. The writer is anonymous and yet, what a wonderful gift she or he has given to us. The writer's anonymity is a reminder, in and of itself, that the true spirit of giving is never about seeking recognition for ourselves.
As we read these words below, may we all remember that Love isn't just the reason, but the essence of this season. It is the greatest gift we have been given and the greatest gift we can give.
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.