“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
This weekend, Carrie and I are celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary. (My thanks to Kindy DeLong for facilitating this getaway by preaching in my absence.) Our tradition is to take turns planning our anniversary trips and keeping the details a surprise until the actual weekend. With our anniversary close at hand, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I want to invite you to think with me about the various forms which love can take: the unconditional love of a parent for a child, a caring love between siblings, a fraternal love between friends, the love between a wife and husband.
We can show our love in a creative variety of ways. Here are some suggestions by author Phyllis Guthrie.
- Rising at 7am on your day off, with a smile on your face, to prepare breakfast for a spouse who has to work.
- Getting up in the middle of the night to quiet a baby or care for a sick child.
- Doing simple tasks for your elderly parents they can no longer do for themselves.
- Taking time from a busy schedule to listen, really listen, to a friend who is struggling.
- Agreeing with your spouse on a vacation spot, even if it wouldn’t be your first choice.
- Welcoming your children’s friends into your home, even if it’s not convenient.
- Surprising your spouse with an inexpensive gift for no reason—perhaps a bouquet of flowers or a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.
- Sacrificing some extras in order to save for a college education for your children.
- Having the grace to forgive others who don’t apologize when they’ve done you wrong.
- Expressing respect and acceptance for your in-laws, even if you don’t see eye-to-eye on some things.
- Going the extra mile when it’s needed, either at home or at work.
- Finding room in your heart and home for your child’s guinea pig.
- Being an example by living each day as one of God’s children—reaching out to others in Christian love.
May God enable each of us to reflect his love to those in close relationship to us as well as to those whom God places along our paths.