I’m Really Trying To Love You

“Let all that you do be done in love.” ~1 Corinthians 16:14

There’s nothing like the Christmas season to test one’s capacity to love.

For example, I had to remember how much I love being American after driving by a Kmart store on Thanksgiving evening that was open for pre-Black Friday shopping.

I had to force myself to think loving thoughts toward a relative who sent an email list of gifts he’d like for Christmas, and ignore the fact that in it he didn’t ask what we wanted or even how we were doing.

I’ve had to work extra hard lately to love going to the gym (always a challenge regardless of the time of year), which unfortunately is located by a mall, because it’s now taking twice as long to get there due to holiday shopping traffic.

Finally, I have to try really hard to feel loving and generous about spending money I’d rather save to instead buy gifts for close to 20 people who don’t need them, for no other reason than it’s expected this time of year. Somehow Jesus’s birthday sparked a Spendandgimmepalooza in our culture. Or was it the advertisers who did that?

In all seriousness, the Christmas season can test our capacity to love in so many ways. For some of us, there are those dreaded family gatherings with relatives who know how to push our buttons, sadness over missing loved ones who are no longer with us, nostalgia over Christmas days long past.  Some of us feel empty, lonely, and left out during the season.

Corinthians says love is patient and kind, but how many of us are patient when waiting in long check out lines or in crawling mall traffic? How many of us are kind to salespeople in crowded stores or are ready to bully others for our right to the last gadget standing? We’ve all heard horror stories of Black Friday stampedes and deaths.

This Christmas season, I’m going to try hard to remember why the holiday exists, which is to celebrate the birth of Christ. I’m going to try and focus on the elements that give Christmas its magic – the beauty of lights, traditions, music and carols, the spirit of peace and childlike joy that pervades our hearts, if only we can slow down long enough to feel it.

When all else fails, there is always love.

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18 thoughts on “I’m Really Trying To Love You

  1. “. . . if only we can slow down long enough . . .” – I suppose that’s the paradox of the contemporary Western Christmas festivity, Kim, in that there’s a sense of, or an anticipation of, an impending serenity and goodwill, and yet the period prior to its (supposed) arrival is one of increasing freneticism and possible fractiousness. My best Christmases have been those when I’ve kept things extremely simple, I must say.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Beautiful, Kim, especially the last line. As much as I love Christmas, I have also been feeling crabby and drained, annoyed by all the time spent in crowded stores and rushing from one required activity to the next. Somehow, I don’t think all this unnecessary spending is quite how Jesus would want us to celebrate his birthday!
    I’m going to follow your example and try to keep Christmas as simple as I can this year. And when I am required to do things that I’d rather not to (say, just for an example, attending the annual Women’s Fellowship Christmas lunch at my mother’s church where we crowd into an unheated church hall, eat overcooked food and the listen to a barbershop quartet murder Christmas carols), I will try to remember to draw on my supply of love. Because I love my mother, and she loves bringing her daughters to her church’s annual Christmas lunch.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ann, you always make me laugh (I’m thinking of the Women’s Fellowship lunch). Thank you for that. I wonder if there’s something in the air this year, like maybe the aftermath of the election or something that’s making us feel more tense than usual. On a positive note, it was my year to host and my son and his fiancé, who live together, asked if they could so that she could have her family over, too! They live in a beautiful, large, old home in the city with another couple so they have the space. All I have to do is show up with a dish or two and a bottle of wine. So it does seem it will be a simpler year. Thanks for commenting, Ann. You’re a good daughter!

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      • I keep reminding myself of being a good daughter, every year at the Christmas luncheon….. And I think you’re right, this year is more tense than usual, probably due to the election.
        But I’m glad that your son is hosting this year! It will be so much easier for you, and it’s so nice that he wants to have both families get together. That’s a wonderful reminder that you are all one big family now!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. “sadness over missing loved ones who are no longer with us”

    This echoes loudly, leaving me numb, yet compelling me to act as if those feelings don’t exist; only to be reminded, that they do. Thanks for putting this out into the Universe.

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  4. I know what you mean, Kim. I feel that way too, sometimes. Yesterday I worked like mad to get the house ready. It was my day off and I had to do it then, plus run a bunch of errands, etc. Just like we all do. I will say though, the kids helped out and that made a big difference. And now that the tree is up, in a different spot this year, we are all feeling better and slowing down to enjoy the season.

    I also think it’s very important to be nice to the people we interact with, in stores, etc. I know it makes a big difference when someone makes an effort to be pleasant. Especially during a busy time like this.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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