I found this somewhere (no idea where) a year or two back and rediscovered it this morning as I panicked gently about all the stuff that still isn't being done here at the Curate's house. Then the electricity went off, so the whole morning's work disappeared, making remembering this all the more necessary.
If I speak in the tongues of Christmas materialism and greed but have not love, I am only a tinny Christmas song or an out of tune choir.
If I have the gift of knowing what Aunt Agatha will give me this year and can even understand last year's present, and if I have the faith that I won't get yet more socks and ties this year but have not love, I am nothing.
If I clear out the house and give everything to charity and my credit cards are snapped in half but have not love, what can I possibly gain?
Love is patient when the fourth store you've tried doesn't have a bottle garden.
Love is kind and lets the couple with only a few items go in front of you and your bulging shopping cart.
Love does not envy your friend who gets mega-presents from everybody.
Love does not boast about the £400 bike, the Xbox 360, the TV, VCR, and computer your dad gave you.
Love does not attempt to out buy, out wrap, and out give the rest of the family just to impress.
Love doesn't cut Aunt Flo off your Christmas card list because she forgot you last year.
Love is not self-seeking and leaves a copy of your Christmas list in every room of the house.
Love is not easily angered when the young girl at the checkout takes forever because she is just temporary staff.
Love doesn't keep remembering how many times your mum forgets you don't like Brussels sprouts.
Love does not delight in the commercial bandwagon but rejoices with the truth of a baby born in the stable.
Love always protects the family from Christmas hype.
Love always trusts that the hiding places for presents will remain secret for another year.
Love always hopes that this year more neighbours will drop in to your open house coffee morning.
Love always perseveres until the cards are written, the presents all bought, the shopping done, and the Christmas cake iced.
Toys may break, socks wear thin but love never fails.
Where there is the feeling of the presents to guess their contents, and mum going on about being good so Father Christmas will come, and searching through the cupboards to find your hidden presents, they will all stop.
For we think we know what we are getting, and we hope we know what we are getting but when Christmas Day arrives all will be revealed.
When I was a child I talked with big wide-open eyes about Christmas, thought that Christmas was all about me, I reasoned that Jesus should have been born more often. When I became an adult, I forgot the joy, wonder, and excitement of this special time.
Now we just hear about the angels, shepherds, and wise men, then we shall see them all the time. Now I know as much as the Bible says about the first Christmas, then I shall know just how many wise men there were and where they came from.
Now three things remain to be done:
To have faith that the baby born in a stable is the Son of God.
To hope that the true message of Christmas will not get discarded with the wrapping paper and unwanted gifts.
And the most important to have a love for others like the one that God has for us.
Copyright 2001 Claire Jordan (caleb[at]eurobell.co.uk). Permission is granted to send this to others, but not for commercial purposes.