"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
(HYPERLINK "http://www.crosswalkmail.com/scrsrlbksjstbpkdtcfhztwzbltpvffpjmbzrrdbvpcjbmv_hbqsfcfbcfws.html" \o "http://www.crosswalkmail.com/scrsrlbksjstbpkdtcfhztwzbltpvffpjmbzrrdbvpcjbmv_hbqsfcfbcfws.html" 1 Corinthians 13:13)
1 Corinthians 13 is referred to as the "love chapter of the Bible." Although typically recited at weddings, author Sharon Jaynes has given these words a new twist, a Christmas twist, and her words are a piercing reminder of how displaced our attention might become during the holiday season, if we lose sight of love.
"If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass 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 home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of your 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, and 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."
Readers, if you need to hear these words like I do, maybe it's time we all pause during this hectic Christmas season and reflect on what will be remembered, what will be cherished, what will endure.
The "greatest" gift of all. It is the gift of Love.