by Nick Campbell, based on I Corinthians 13
Though I may be able to sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in Latin,
and “Silent Night” in German, and these with tear-inducing tones,
if I do not share the Love born in those songs,
my song is the same as dogs barking Jingle Bells
and rednecks counting the days of Christmas.
Though I may be able to guess what is in every gaily-wrapped package,
and can master even the most difficult holiday recipe,
and can remember every one’s sizes and color preferences when shopping online;
and I have such confidence that I can host the perfect holiday party so that all may praise my name,
if I forget to love the people who give and receive these gifts,
I am nothing.
Though I may never pass a bell ringer without dropping a few coins in the bucket,
and I bake cookies to be shipped to soldiers overseas,
and I even volunteer to work with the children’s pageant at church,
if I am waiting for a thank you before it feels good,
then I haven’t gained anything in the doing.
Love waits for its completion in other people,
knowing it will be worth the wait.
Love bends our knees in awe,
lifts our eyes in wonder,
extends our hands in welcome,
and opens our ears to listen deeply.
Love walks in a way that leads to the manger,
finds the blessing in the hay,
gives thanks for a stable,
and rejoices in the Child that makes this all holy.
This Love doesn’t keep track of the cost,
or doubt its necessity,
or seek its own glory,
or hold anything back.
This Love is eternal!
new songs will be enjoyed when old songs are forgotten;
and old traditions will be replaced by the new.
It must be this way because Love is greater than our customs, songs, and traditions.
When this Love is complete in us,
no song will ever be enough, or even necessary,
for God’s Love will sing through us.
At first, I waited for gifts, I asked for gifts, and I judged those gifts.
Now, I ask for the Giver.
I have an idea of who I am before this Gift,
whose image continually reshapes how I see myself.
One day I will know how God sees me.
We always have faith to sustain us,
hope to guide us,
and love to redeem us.
And the greatest of these is Love.