Love & Christmas: A Perfect Match
- 2010 23 Dec
The breezes were cold but our hearts were warm. When our choir went from door to door singing our favorite Christmas carols, we threw in a golden oldie that is not often sung. But the universal subject of LOVE is what Christmas is all about...
"Love came down at Christmas. Love all lovely, Love divine.
Love was born at Christmas, a star and angels gave the sign."
That is exactly what our family has on our minds each Christmas. The baby Jesus is our focus. However, one December many years ago there was another baby about which we were thinking. Our three sons echoed our question, "When will our baby decide to enter the world?" The due date had come and gone.
I was heavy with child as I waddled from room to room trying to trim the tree and put out decorations. It was truly a family time as John, Scott and Ben helped poor ol' Mom arrange the lights on the tree and sprinkle it with glitter.
Feeling a tad restless one night, I laid on the living room couch while they finished. Going to bed early was a good idea because after a few hours I awoke my sleeping husband with the startling but happy words, "It's time to go to the hospital."
Once there, it was evident that I could not have a natural birth. Surgery was the only answer since this baby seemed to be nice and plump. Yes, the weight of our new baby was a great surprise - all ten pounds! A beautiful daughter had come to grace our home with extra love. She joined her three brothers and we were elated that she would always be their precious baby sister.
After the birth of my first three children, I had gone home quickly and was soon up and bustling around within a few days. But this birth was very different. I was almost forty years old and I was experiencing - for the first time - the recuperation from a caesarian-section.
But my weakness did not interfere with my holding and cuddling our Rebekah Joy. Bed rest was needed but I had much help with diapers and preparing bottles. Friends stopped in with gifts of love and congratulations. My husband, Woody, did all of the shopping for our boys. I spied a few gifts for me, and of course, baby Joy.
I kept pondering the question, "Where, oh where, would I ever get a gift to put under the tree for my beloved Woody?" I didn't feel like shopping and I didn't want to ask someone to buy a gift for my husband.
Finally, I had the answer. I believe that God whispered into my heart about the Christmas love that cannot be bought at any store. By Christmas Eve I was wrapping his big box. I asked the boys to carefully put it near the back of the tree so it would be the last one opened.
Christmas morning they sat with their dad on the floor by the tree. Lights sparkled as did the love in our eyes. Joy and I were warm and cozy as we snuggled in our rocking chair very close to the tree.
Gifts were opened revealing footballs, basketballs, books, games, electronic equipment, perfume, candies, diapers and dolls. The familiar boxes of handkerchiefs and socks for Dad, from John, Scott and Ben, were always welcome.
Last but not least, I asked that the big box be lifted from behind the tree. "To my Woody from your Lucy" was printed on the tag. A curious look was on his face as he tore away the red wrapping paper. He lifted the lid to the box but it looked empty. The letter inside was small, and the mystery continued.
I asked him to read it aloud. "This is for my dear husband. I am sorry I couldn't shop for a surprise gift for you this year. However, this is not an empty box. I packed it full to overflowing with kisses and hugs of devoted love for you, my beloved."
Next, the best part came quickly as we exchanged some of those kisses and hugs. Special love came down on this special Christmas even though I could not go out to shop.
Each time we sing that lovely hymn, "Love Came Down At Christmas," I remember that unique way of expressing my love to my husband.
We are assured that it was God who gave the most glorious gift of all - Himself. "...she gave birth... and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the Inn ( Luke 2:7).
A British poet of the nineteenth-century, Christina Rossetti, expressed that powerful truth when she wrote, "Love Came Down At Christmas." She used the word "love" eleven times in three short stanzas. It was first published in her poetry collection, "A Reading Diary of 1885."
The traditional Irish melody that we sing today was added years later, in 1927, by David Evans. He took a little poem in England and gave it wings of song that continue to travel throughout the land.
When all the gifts are opened on Christmas morn, and only the torn wrappings are left under the tree, let us pray that love was tucked into every gift.
Oh God, our Father, your perfect Love came down at Christmas. May our lives be an expression of that love when we give to others.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Lucy Neeley Adams has always loved music. She began telling the story of hymns on Christian radio WWGM in Nashville, TN, in the '80s. She then wrote a newspaper column titled "Song Stories" for five years. During that time Lucy's book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions, was published by Abingdon Press in Nashville. Each of the 52 stories contained in the book is written in a devotional format, with the words of the hymn concluding each devotion. She may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her at 52hymns.com