Love...what an incredibly important component of life. In some ways it could be said that life could not go on without it. The Bible refers to love some 500 times. The ancient Greeks were aware of the many aspects of love. They coined three words for love. One that associated love with passion and desire, one for quiet affection and mutual care, and one that denoted the delights in friendship and companionship.
It took the Christian gospel to reveal the real nature of love.
The gospel tells of Christ who came to earth to express that love among people. Unique to that love was that it sought to save those unworthy of His love. He loved those who in themselves were totally unlovable.
That love is the heart of Christianity today. Believers, saved by that love, love those around them even though they don't deserve it. Their love sets no conditions, seeks no reward, and harbors no fear of being repelled.
There is nothing at all easy about that love. Our inclination is to wonder what gains our love-investments bring us. And, besides, we are aware of our own needs and hunger for love. In ourselves we must often reach out from a vantage of weakness instead of strength. The history of Christianity is replete with painful instances of believers seeking themselves and avoiding close contact with the Master.
These last several weeks world news has reported so much violence, cruelty, death and suffering. It's that world that our children will inherit. How can we prepare them? The primary element of that complex task is that our children learn the meaning of love. I Corinthians 13 presents a blueprint.
Read that chapter again. Connected with love is: affection, hope, care, protection, knowledge, and the wonderful virtue of keeping no record of wrong.
Western civilization's hope for survival lies in homes and families where that love is owned and practiced. Some years ago the White House Conference on Children was held. One contributor called the future of the family itself into question. To this Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute of Family Relations, responded by saying that no society has survived after its families had deteriorated. I Corinthians 13 is as relevant today as it was in Paul's New Testament's day. And it is also very relevant for the Advent Season.