The Gift and Power of Love
“What do you want for Christmas?” It is estimated that this year several billion dollars will be spent in this country on Christmas gifts – from toys for kids to clothing to the latest electronic devices, jewelry and more to put under the tree.
Clearly, the exchange of tangible gifts is a significant part of the excitement of Christmas. All of the time, energy, not to mention cost that goes into the selection, purchase, wrapping and presentation of gifts says something about their importance. Perhaps when everything is all said and done, the reason we go through this ritual every year is because we recognize that in these gifts we try to find a way of expressing our love.
People know intuitively, if not proven by experience, that no amount of worldly goods in whatever form we enjoy them can completely manifest our love for another, our love for our family and our own need for love.
Love and the idea of love fill our daily existence. Love is the subject of countless popular songs, sonnets and stories in movies and books. What we desire most of all, what makes us rejoice, is love. Everyone wants to be wanted, to have others care about them and want what is good for them. We thrive on love, and when we do not have it or give it, our lives wither.
We all find our origin in love. It is love which gives us life. Love is our final destination too, and it is meant to be experienced at all points in between. Indeed, “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it,” observed Saint John Paul II (Redemptor Hominis, 10).
Love is the most important thing in life, but the problem for many is that they keep looking for love in all the wrong places. God is Love, he is the love that is ever faithful and fulfills us and sustains us through good and bad, but so many people fail to see this.
Love, the transcendent common language of mankind, is the message of Christmas. God loves us, and he has sent his Son to be with us, to be one of us. The true and undying love that people throughout history have longed for in their restless hearts can be found precisely in Jesus, born in Bethlehem. Our great challenge in the New Evangelization – and this season surrounding Christmas is a superb time to meet this challenge – is to help people to see the connection between the love they naturally seek and the Lord.
Yet, we know there are many people looking for love. Perhaps Christmas can be our time to bring them to Christ. We can do this by our own love, by allowing his love to radiate from us. By this love, we satisfy the thirst of people today, we answer those demanding questions of the heart, bringing a fuller vision of life than secular society provides. Through the transformative power of love, hearts can be changed and new life can bloom in the world. It is in love, and only in love, that the world will be redeemed.
There is nothing more powerful than love. The fullness of love is by its very nature dynamic and creative, it seeks to burst out from itself and bring new life. It was through the fruitful power of love that the universe was created and death was defeated. So it will be by and through love that people will find the true fullness of the happy life they seek.
As people of faith, as followers of Jesus Christ, we know that all authentic joy finds its origin in the Lord who is Love. This is the love for which we were made. This is our great Christmas gift to the world.