Giving the Gift of Love

Thanksgiving is behind us and you can't drive very far without seeing Christmas lights and hearing the wonderful Christmas music. This is the time of year when we begin to think about the giving and receiving of gifts. If your kids are somewhat normal their focus is probably more on the receiving of gifts. Each one of our three sons has already given us a shopping list in hopes that they will get us that “perfect” (and hopefully expensive) gift.

What gift does everyone want? What gift does everyone need? What is the gift that few of us put on our shopping list but that all of us like to receive? What gift could you give your loved-ones this Christmas that wouldn't cost you anything but might be something they would never forget?

It's difficult to think about the Christmas season and not think about our memories of past Christmas's spent with families and friends. For many people, this season is a reminder of happier times when there was laughter and singing. When their marriages and families were still together. On October 23, Governor Mike Huckabee hosted a state wide Conference on the Family and declared a ”marital emergency” in our state. He had the conviction and courage to call for a ”50 percent cut in the divorce rate” beginning in our own state of Arkansas and across the country by the year 2010.

The logical question is how will this happen? My answer is simple . . . it will happen one marriage and one family at a time. It will happen as husbands and wives, as moms and dads and friends decide that the most important thing we can give to each other is a clear commitment to a strong, vital and healthy relationship that is characterized by an unselfish, bold, costly, consistent and passionate love. What does that kind of love look like?

The best description of love comes from the one whose birth the Christmas season was designed to celebrate. The birth of the child who grew up to be a man who loved us enough to die and rise again so that those who believe in Him could have everlasting life. It makes sense for us to turn to the one who created us with the ability to love. After all, His love for us is the model of the kind of love we need to give and that everyone wants to receive.

In all of literature the acknowledged classic description of love is found in I Corinthians 13. A few years ago I read a paraphrase of verses four through eight of this chapter. As you read through this description of God’s love for you, ask yourself, “Which one or two of these ways of loving could I give to one or two of the special people in my life?”

  • Because God loves me He is slow to lose patience with me.
  • Because God loves me He takes the circumstances of my life and uses them in a constructive way for my growth.
  • Because God loves me He is for me. He wants to see me mature and develop in His love.
  • Because God loves me He does not send down His wrath on every little mistake I make, of which there are many.
  • Because God loves me He does not keep score of all my sins and then beat me over the head with them whenever He gets the chance.
  • Because God loves me He is deeply grieved when I do not walk in the ways that please Him because He sees this as evidence that I do not trust and love Him as I should.
  • Because God loves me He rejoices when I experience His power and strength and stand up under the pressures of life for His name's sake.
Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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