Advent Devotions 2017
Day Nineteen
December 21, 2017

Giving Love Away

1 John 3:16-18
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

Love cannot be held inside you; it must be shared with others.

We show that we have the love of our God within us in many ways, both large and small: whether it be by way of providing for needs of a less fortunate person individually, giving support to a friend who is experiencing a personal tragedy, or giving money to our church’s Fellowship Fund so we can corporately help our neighbors with basic needs like utility payments or rent – we have opportunities to share love all the time.

God provides love to us so that we may provide love to others.

As a hospital advocate for Safe Harbor Shelter, every time I hold a survivor’s hand in the emergency room, God is holding mine as well. Each time I listen to a Mother’s story of trauma at the hands of someone she loved deeply, my listening to her is a form of love put there by God.

1 John 3:18 says “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

Giving of ourselves daily in small ways is a result of God’s gift of love that created compassion within us. When we hold the door open for someone, let others go in front of us in the grocery line, give a sincere compliment to someone every day, this may be the only positive thing that happens to that person that day. Wouldn’t it be nice if at the end of the day, more people remember that bright spot because of the love we shared?

Love is a gift to us, meant to be given to others.

A few years ago, a friend’s young daughter died right before Christmas. Her request was that as many people as her Mom and Dad could reach by email, provide a gift to a child for Christmas. We were then to email her parents with our stories and they would print them out and make a booklet from them. One example they gave was while checking out with your toys for your own family, donate money to the next person in line.

While shopping at Toys ‘R Us a week later, I kept running into a sweet family with 3 little girls. We ended up checking out at the same time at cashiers next to each other. I finished first and went up to their cashier and offered to pay their bill. They at first declined, but finally I talked them into it, saying it was a special request from a special little girl. I can’t tell you how much joy I received from that act of kindness. The love I gave away came back to me tenfold that day. We show love to our family and friends every day just by caring for them and providing support when needed. But let’s try to step out of our comfort zone this season and do a few small kindnesses for strangers, too. I bet you’ll be filled with the love of God, too!

“Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love.” (Unknown Author)

Blessings this holiday season, as we all give a little more love away.

Written by Carolyn Bristow Foster
Art by Haynes