His list makes me smile even now. It suggests love on so many different levels. Jesus, whose birth we are celebrating, has loved us since time began and became the ultimate sacrifice. Our spouses love us, even though they know us and are willing to spend every day rejoicing in the good and dealing with the bad. Our children love us as parents, even though as teenagers they seldom understand us. Our family loves us because we are indeed family, even if feathers get ruffled from time to time, and truces are required during special celebrations throughout the year, like this one: Christmas. And our friends love us because they choose to look beyond our flaws and accept us just the way we are!
Many of us are going through trials on different levels. It may be something like cancer or other health issue, the loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or any number of issues. When we can rely on those who love us, however, we can weather the storm and know that eventually we will see a rainbow. This knowledge gives us the determination and commitment to keep trying.
Everyday should be Christmas in our heart. Then, even on those days when those who are near us, see us display less than stellar behavior, we can still love and be loved. A good friend said the past few weeks have been very stressful with surgery for her daughter, an emergency room visit with her dad and work. The schedule has left her exhausted and in her words, “contrary!” Her husband looked at her one night and asked, “What have you done with my wife?” Still he loved her. In fact, loving during those times when those we love aren’t at their best is our best demonstration of love. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about; loving unconditionally? Isn’t that why we celebrate the Christ Child?
I challenge you this next week, to love unconditionally. Love with your whole heart. Love begets love, which is best seen in the Christ Child. Merry Christmas, everyone!