Love with a Capital L
By Elisa Morgan
Years ago, I remember a particular Christmas struggle: I wanted my children to get Christmas. It was during the Christmas season that as five and three year-olds, they each bowed their little heads and received the gift of Jesus into their hearts. I rejoiced because they got it.
But my struggle re-emerged as they aged and the season swelled with parties, the insanity of four schedules, and preoccupation with what they’d get, I wondered, did they get it at all?
One year my teen daughter and I marathon-malled in search of the perfect present for several of her friends. She’d saved allowances and babysitting money but had succumbed to her own desires as she plunked down a portion on a few items for herself. “Oh Mom, it’s okay, I’ll still have plenty,” she rationalized.
“Christmas isn’t about yourself,” I preached. “It’s for expressing your love for Jesus by lavishing love on others. That means giving something that costs you something – like money or time or effort.”
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians has been my prayer for my children, “…that you may grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God,” (Ephesians 3:17, 19).
Love with a capital L. Lavish love based on God’s gift of Jesus to us at Christmas.
As a mom, I’ve wrapped packages into the wee hours in our basement “Christmas Room,” intent on passing down this capital L love legacy to my children. Our family intentionally sealed Christmas gift-giving with the deeper symbols of our faith: Bible stories, church pageants, and a Jesus Birthday Cake. But as I walked the mall with my teen daughter, I pondered, were my kids only getting the goodies or would they ever get the meaning behind them?
That year, reality crashed down in Bath and Body Works when my daughter calculated she had only $20 left for four friends. A hard equation. She fretted. I took the opportunity to deliver another sermon: “Love doesn’t have a cash price tag. You can invest time and thought as well as money to make someone feel special.” She selected an armload of candles, lip glosses and lotions – plenty.
Late that night I found her in the “Christmas Room,” folding, taping and clipping until her pile of presents resembled a department store window display. There must have been an entire roll of curling ribbon corkscrewed atop each box. She’d invested nearly the entire supply of my wrapping stash in her four gifts. A slight annoyance rose up within me and then wafted aside.
Lavish. Love with a capital L. She got it.
Elisa Morgan's latest book is now available - Christmas Changes Everything. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include You Are Not Alone, When We Pray Like Jesus, The Beauty of Broken, and Hello, Beauty Full. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.