Year around, but especially during the holiday season I think about love.
Like many people, when I think about love, I typically think about how good it feels to be in love. After experiencing the deep, passionate eros love [romantic, erotic] for other humans, felt it wane and eventually die, my attitude and sentimentality about love is slightly different now.
I disagree with a few dear, wise friends who suggest that is mostly because of the walls I build around my heart. In my experience I notice more than anything else that
human hearts seem to be more sensitive and slightly more realistic after being broken.
I literally practice Philia love [affectionate friendship mostly between equals]. Agape love [charity, man’s love for God and God’s love for man] seems to need less practice, it simply takes over. Neither are weaker, but agape love shines brighter, longer. Loving comes with the risk of heartache or heartbreak – it’s the nature of the beast. But It’s a good beast.
Taking a little poetic license, C.S. Lewis* described my perception of agape love for me:
“Thinking about God’s love for us is much safer than thinking about our love for Him. Even if humans could always have devout feelings, God does not principally care about feelings .
“Christian love, towards either God or man is about will. We are trying to do His will by obeying the commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” He gives us feelings of love as He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right.
“It’s best to remember our feelings come and go but His love for us does not. Our sins, our indifference do not weary His love; and therefore, His relentless determination shall cure us of those sins, whatever it costs us, whatever it cost Him.”
I realize that people don’t like the word sin, especially when used in the same context with love. Say it and you lose listeners quickly. But sin/rebellion is humankind’s inherent inclination (free will), so I say it anyway.
About as far from religious as can be, in my mind sin is wrongness. Similar to love, we constantly face choices to act wrongfully upon a wrong thought, especially one that would hurt or harm oneself or another. I.e., a married person thinking, “I choose who my friends are. I can flirt with that person; my spouse will never know, so it doesn’t hurt anyone.” Acting upon such thinking often leads to hurt and harm. But wonder of all wonders, acting upon wrongful thoughts is not unforgivable, it’s human.
Especially during the holiday season, I celebrate the greatest act of Love ever; God leaving perfect eternity to inhabit a human body, with a human mind and crazy human emotions, demonstrating a better way to live and to love. To love is a choice. To believe and live Christmas love all year around is my choice.
I wish this love for everyone without regard to any belief system.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)
*The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. & HarperCollins Publishers All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.