I'm back from the greater Baltimore area where I spoke this week and met some new sisters-in-Christ at Mid Atlantic Community Church. The event went quite well and I enjoyed my time with them. My thanks to the women's ministry committee, the audio-video specialists, and most of all to Christ for giving us a reason to gather and celebrate.
I want to share with you a paraphrase of 1st Corinthians that reminds me where to keep my focus as I prepare for the upcoming holidays. Both of my children have birthdays the same week as Christmas, so I can easily get caught up in doing shopping, decorating, wrapping and entertaining. God's word pulls me back to what's real and eternal.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13 for CHRISTMAS
If I decorate my house with poinsettias, bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny ornaments, 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 a Christmas ham, arranging beautiful table centerpieces, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I volunteer at the soup kitchen, go caroling at the nursing home, and drop money in the Salvation Army bucket, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I set out the nativity, attend a bunch of holiday parties, and sing in the holiday cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have completely missed the point.
Love stops the cooking, cleaning or wrapping to hug the child.
Love pauses the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, even when busy or tired.
Love doesn't envy another woman's Christmas china.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but thanks God for them. Love doesn't give only to those who can return the favor, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love always wins.
MP3 players will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust ... but giving the gift of love will endure for all eternity.
In other words, you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
I pray today that you and I remember to love amidst all the things we do!