Because you never wrap an empty box with beautiful wrapping paper and give that as a gift.
Because you never invite someone over for dinner and serve them an empty plate.
Because you never go for a “high five” and never make hand contact.
Because you never buy someone a Blackberry phone. Well, you just don’t.
Because you never invite someone to a concert you don’t have tickets to.
Because you never say, “I love you,” and expect to never get your heart broken.
I was 11 years old and I had some friends ask a girl if she would “go out with me”. They came back with her response, “She said, ‘Yes!’” I was elated. I was in a Grade 6 and now I had a girlfriend. Her name was Jody. For the remaining days, I never talked to Jody—either in person or by phone. I saw Jody, from a distance, but I was too nervous to ever talk to her. But that never stopped me from putting on my baseball cap, “O + J” with a heart and an arrow through it. I don’t remember how many weeks we were “together”, but I distinctly remember the day my heart broke. I was at the bike racks getting ready to go home. One of the guys saw my hat and took it off my head. He started laughing and said, “So, you don’t know?” I said, “Know what?” Jody is now going out with Brian. My heart broke into a million pieces. I don’t even remember how I responded other than riding home, almost in tears, and scrubbing the inscription from my hat.
We all have notions of what “love” is. Sometimes, we recognize its impact, not by the joy it brings, but by the pain it causes us. Whether it’s the absence of someone we love or the sacrifice we endure for another, love will hurt us.
Yet, if we look to Jesus as our template of love, we understand that love is the embodiment of our entire heart, mind, and body. God did not simply send a greeting card with a huge “I love you!” scribbled inside to the world. Instead, he sent his son in human skin. This fragility made him vulnerable to pain, misery, and death. The author of Hebrews describes it this way:
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
While I might complain about how love has caused me heartache, I see Jesus and find that love is worth it. I’m worth it. You’re worth it. I can’t separate pain from love, and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe, love is known best when it’s vulnerable and fragile; like a newborn lying in a manger.
The Coming of Love…for All People