“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” ~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Love is a pure virtue. It is a virtue that demands a pouring out of self for the sake of others. A pouring out of everything, if necessary. Jesus reminded us that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. That might sound pretty radical – especially if you judge by the standards of the world – yet, that is exactly what love is all about.
We celebrate that kind of love during this Christmas season. What greater love can God show us than to send His only Son to be born as one of us? The great mystery of the Incarnation is that God took on flesh, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
We might not be called to pour out our lives for others, though there have been instances of that throughout the ages. I think of Maximilian Kolbe who offered his life in the place of another prisoner so that prisoner would have a chance to be reunited with his family at the end of the war. We are, nonetheless, challenged to be willing to pour out our lives for others.
Sometimes we do things that feel close to laying down our lives. We might be called to reach out to a person that we absolutely do not like. We might be asked to serve the needs of people that we generally ignore. The list could go on and on.
In the spirit of Christmas, try to embody God’s love just as God took on our own fleshly bodies. Reach out to others without expectation of any kind of return. Greet others that you might shun. Be willing to help anyone who requests your aid.
FAITH ACTION: Bring Jesus into the world by your words and deeds.