December is the month of gift-giving. Many of us will wear ourselves out trying to think of perfect gifts for friends and family. Some of us will nearly empty our checking accounts in order to purchase things for others. A few of us may even strike out with some of the things we give that we thought were good ideas only to realize too late they were not.
1 Corinthians 13 is the Bible’s great chapter on love, and the first three verses of that chapter always knock the wind out of me. The claims in these verses are some of the boldest in all of scripture. There, Paul writes, “If I give away all I have . . . but have not love, I gain nothing.”
I do not think that Paul had the month of December in mind when he wrote these words, but I do find this verse to be appropriate reading for this time of the year—a time of year when we give a lot of things. Perhaps, as we begin this month of gift-giving, this verse merits our reflection.
The perfect, most expensive, or ingenious gifts you give to others this season won’t mean much without love. We know this, I know, but it is worth remembering. Please don’t take this bulletin article as warrant to skip the gifts this year (I’ll have all the kids in the church mad at me if you do), but we must remember that our children, our spouses, our friends, and our families do not need more stuff: they need love. They need our attention, our energy, our smile, our time, and our words.
I hope you are able to give gifts this season and to know the joy of giving a good gift. I hope your gifts are thoughtful and meaningful and meet the needs of the ones to whom you give, and that you don’t strike out. But more than all this, I hope that whatever you give, you give love.