FIRST CORINTHIANS 13, CHRISTMAS VERSION
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 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.
1 CORINTHIANS 13 FOR CHRISTMAS
If I speak in the tongues of Christmas materialism and greed but have not love, I am only a tinny Christmas song or an out of tune choir.
If I have the gift of knowing what Aunt Agatha will give me this year and can even understand last year's present, and if I have the faith that I won't get yet more socks and ties this year but have not love, I am nothing.
If I clear out the house and give everything to charity and my credit cards are snapped in half but have not love, what can I possibly gain?
Love is patient when the fourth store you've tried doesn't have a bottle garden.
Love is kind and lets the couple with only a few items go in front of you and your bulging shopping cart.
Love does not envy your friend who gets mega-presents from everybody.
Love does not boast about the £400 bike, the Xbox 360, the TV, VCR, and computer your dad gave you.
Love does not attempt to out buy, out wrap, and out give the rest of the family just to impress.
Love doesn't cut Aunt Flo off your Christmas card list because she forgot you last year.
Love is not self-seeking and leaves a copy of your Christmas list in every room of the house.
Love is not easily angered when the young girl at the checkout takes forever because she is just temporary staff.
Love doesn't keep remembering how many times your mum forgets you don't like Brussels sprouts.
Love does not delight in the commercial bandwagon but rejoices with the truth of a baby born in the stable.
Love always protects the family from Christmas hype.
Love always trusts that the hiding places for presents will remain secret for another year.
Love always hopes that this year more neighbours will drop in to your open house coffee morning.
Love always perseveres until the cards are written, the presents all bought, the shopping done, and the Christmas cake iced.
Toys may break, socks wear thin but love never fails.
Where there is the feeling of the presents to guess their contents, and mum going on about being good so Father Christmas will come, and searching through the cupboards to find your hidden presents, they will all stop.
For we think we know what we are getting, and we hope we know what we are getting but when Christmas Day arrives all will be revealed.
When I was a child I talked with big wide-open eyes about Christmas, thought that Christmas was all about me, I reasoned that Jesus should have been born more often. When I became an adult, I forgot the joy, wonder, and excitement of this special time.
Now we just hear about the angels, shepherds, and wise men, then we shall see them all the time. Now I know as much as the Bible says about the first Christmas, then I shall know just how many wise men there were and where they came from.
Now three things remain to be done:
To have faith that the baby born in a stable is the Son of God.
To hope that the true message of Christmas will not get discarded with the wrapping paper and unwanted gifts.
And the most important to have a love for others like the one that God has for us.
Copyright 2001 Claire Jordan (caleb[at]eurobell.co.uk). Permission is granted to send this to others, but not for commercial purposes.
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