The Greatest of These Is Love


Scripture: I Corinthians 13:1-13

The Gift of the Magi” – the story of two people who sacrificed their greatest possessions in order to give meaningful gifts to each other. Many would look at this story and say that the gifts ended up being useless as the things they were given to accompany were sacrificed in order to make said gifts possible. So what was the point?

What was the point of Jesus and His life? What makes His life, ministry, and message so different from any other prophet or religious figure? Love is the defining factor. That Jesus loved us so much as to sacrifice His innocent life to redeem us.

I Corinthians interrupts its discussion of spiritual gifts to remind us that, without love, those gifts are pointless and useless.

Love is supposed to be Christianity’s cornerstone. It is what is timeless about this faith. It is the defining characteristic of God, of Jesus, His life, His ministry, and His sacrifice.

If Jesus had done what He did for any other reason than love, it would have indeed been pointless. But He didn’t. And it wasn’t. It isn’t. It is love.

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1 Corinthians 13 – a Christmas Version
(source unknown)

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

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