Love startles and breaks open our hearts. We long for it, but it can frighten us by its bold claim. In my friends’ case, the Salvadorian regime decided that love threatened their power. Maybe it always does. Aren’t we drawn to those who seem to grasp love’s terrain? And as we draw near, doesn’t control or power take second place?
When I thought about the books I’ve read this year, five came to mind immediately, and I realized there was a common theme - love. Each book is unlike the others, except that it uniquely addresses love. Three of the books are non-fiction, two are fictionalized accounts of real situations.
Julie Watson shares the tragic loss of her baby and the profound love expressed in her work as a midwife. Lynda Filler takes readers on a journey in which she chooses to love and finds healing from a life-threatening disease. Harriet Hodgson writes from experience and training about loving as a caregiver. Billy Ray Chitwood contrasts innocence with corruption, and through powerful writing, he brings us into our own hearts. John W. Howell walks us through a life that has known both sorrow and joy and offers us a glimpse of eternity.
December’s lights and music, festive gatherings, and gift-giving are all part of our collective remembrance – of youthful dreams, of adult longings, and of a birth so long ago in a stable. I can't help but wonder about this birth, if the young mother was cold that night, or if she felt frightened. I suspect, though, that Love's embrace both warmed and soothed her.
My wish for each of us this month is that we experience Love's embrace more deeply, more fully, more clearly - in our family gatherings, in our sorrows and joys, in our daily challenges. May we shine this December as brightly as the lights on our trees.
May we all have a very blessed and merry Christmas.