We have entered the season of Advent, a time when we contemplate the coming of Christ into the world of human affairs. And why did He say he came to us? “I have come that you might have life, and have it in its fullness.”
If you surf the Internet, once in a while you run across a pretty inspiring story. I happened upon one such not too long ago.
Apparently two recent newlyweds decided not to go on a honeymoon. They also purposely did not have a wedding reception. Instead, they calculated how much a reception and a honeymoon would have cost, and they “re-designated” it. The young bride and groom used the money they would otherwise have spent on those two occasions to selflessly help people in each of the fifty United States. In Arkansas, they gave gifts to sick children. In Utah, they aided victims of domestic abuse. In New Jersey, they purchased and donated clothing to a homeless shelter. In every one of the fifty states, they located one cause they believed in and financially assisted it. They loved one aother and felt that serving others would be a reasonable and meaningful testimony to that love.
Whereas I do not discourage people from having wedding receptions or honeymoons, I do think that couple displayed a depth of character and a spiritual insight that will bring meaning to their future together. The late Leo Buscaglia used to say, “Find love, find life.” Jesus put it this way: “Whoever would give his life away for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall find it.”
I think the best way to find love is to offer love. Apparently those newlyweds felt the same. The best way to create a culture of kindness is to be kind in our treatment of others. The best way to live happily is to make others happy. The best way to be treated with courtesy or compassion is to live both courteously and compassionately. The best way to be taken seriously is to seriously listen to other people. The biblical mandate is true: “Whatsoever you sow, that shall you also reap.”
So, take a cue from the Bible and from the witness of a young bride and groom who decided to show others what real love looks like. Find some way to give, to serve, to make a dent and make a difference, to create civility, to engender hope, to befriend the lonely, to advocate for the victims and the vulnerable, to become a peacemaker, to make the world a better place. Be bold and courageous enough to show others what real love looks like, and in return you will find what real life feels like. That’s one significant way of discovering why we celebrate Christmas. “I have come that you might have life, and have it in its fullness.”