Love.

 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7

With Christmas just days away, people are getting frantic.  Fortunately, I have most of my shopping done, but the amount of cars and people out and about each night I’m becoming increasingly more irritated. 

Yesterday my friend shared with me a column written in our local paper by Betsy Wright Rhodes.  It was a calming way to refocus and think about what’s truly important, and no, it’s not the rage I feel towards all of the horrible drivers of the world.  Her column is below:

As I write this column, just days before Christmas, I am filled with a wonderful kind of peace. 

The house is a wreck, no decorations are up and I haven’t baked a single morsel.  Still-boxed holiday cards sit on my desk.  The shopping isn’t complete.  And yes, I have a column to write. 

It’s a columns about how many of us perfectionist women have gotten trapped into thinking we have to be all, do all and smile always.  How do we do the Christmas thing and everything else we normally do?  Well, we can’t–at least not without sacrificing something that should not be sacrificed this time of year: Love. 

Since 7 am, I’ve snapped at my husband, yelled at my daughter and practically shoved my youngest out the door to catch the bus.

And then, something miraculous happened.  A check of my e-mails revealed a message from a friend.

Now, I’m focused on the real reason for the season.  I’m focused on God’s gift of love to humanity in the form of a tiny baby named Jesus.  Now, instead of trying to create a facsimile of love with fancy decorations and pretty packages, I’m simply going to be love to my family and friends.

And so, with peace in my heart, I pass on this bit of wisdom–1 Corinthians 13, the Christmas version:

If I decorate my house perfectly with bows, twinkling lights and shiny balls 
but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
If I bake dozens of Christmas cookies, prepare gourmet meals and arrange a beautifully adorned table
but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, sing carols 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, attend myriad holiday parties and sing 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 husband.  
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 but is thankful they are there to be in 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 forever. 

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