Lots of Mistletoe

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
John 15:12 (NLT)

Just to be clear: when I reference “loving each other,” I do not mean the kind of love that normally manifests underneath the mistletoe. This ain’t that kind of church. Still, those green sprigs hanging over doorways are inescapable this time of year, especially at the innumerable parties that seem to pop up every weekend. Secret Santa Parties, Ugly Sweater Parties, White Elephant Parties, even the dreaded Office Party that requires you act like you like your coworkers outside of working hours… they all have something in common: they require interaction with other people. Yuck.

Wouldn’t Christmas be so much easier without other people? You wouldn’t have to fight anyone for that last must-have item at the store on Christmas Eve. You wouldn’t have to buy presents that are just going to get returned at the first opportunity. Christmas might actually be enjoyable for a change! These people are just so difficult, yet God wants us to love them. But what does that mean, exactly?

Think about what happens under the mistletoe. Two people in love demonstrate that love publicly by exchanging a kiss where everyone can see it and know their love is real. That is the message represented by “lots of mistletoe”: it is not enough to simply love one another with sentimental feelings that are locked up in our hearts and never see the light of day. Real love is love you can see, love that is exhibited through real actions that affect real people’s lives. It’s the kind of love that Jesus lived every hour of his life. We’re all difficult people, hard to tolerate on our best days, yet our God loved us enough to sacrifice his heavenly existence and come to live—and die—among us. Love like Jesus? Love like that.

How can you love sacrificially this Christmas? What are some concrete, real-world steps you can take to show Christ-like love to someone in your life who desperately needs it?

Give me a renewed love for people this Christmas season, Lord.

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