Monday, December 13, 2004

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

The question "What does love mean?" was posed to a group of 4- to 8-year-olds and the above response remains one of my favorite responses of all. For the innocence of youth often times strikes at the very heart of the matter.

My friend, whether or not Christian in one's belief system, there is something very appealing about the Christmas holiday season for all... at least at its very core. Sure enough, many of us each year are easily distracted from the sole purpose of the celebration amidst the opening of packages, bustling crowds, wassailing, returning gifts, and holiday feasts. It's easy to be distracted by all the music, lights and noise.

But it's in those moments of silence, those lulls, of our days where purpose and perspective creep in and whisper to our heart, "There's more to your life... there's so much more..." Moments just before the rush of your day begins, moments just before your head is laid to rest on your pillow at night, and all those moments during your day when you are waiting in lines and waiting in your car. It is in these moments that voice is probably its loudest... and it only reaches a whisper... because that's all that is needed to remind each and everyone of us of that sole purpose: Love.

It is a Love that was born so long ago in the darkness of a desolate world full of desperate lives. And even amidst the incredible technological and scientific advancement, it still seems, at times, to be a desolate world full of desperate lives... in need of that same Love. That is the very essence of Christmas (whether you believe it to be fact or folklore): that Love that arrives as a whisper in our life will always drown out the overwhelming din of of selfishness, greed and desperation. It is a simple whisper that will move mountains, alter lives and change hearts for the better. It is a sweet whisper that will elevate the lives of mere humans to immortal saints. And it is a sacred whisper that will transform an earthly moment into holy ground.

It is that whisper you will hear... when the presents are finally laid down and you listen.


And the remaining responses from 4- to 8-year-olds when asked, "What does love mean?" Well, here are some of the best:

  • "Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way."
  • "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
  • "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
  • "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
  • "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
  • "Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don't yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
  • "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
  • "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
  • "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
  • "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
  • "Love is hugging. Love is kissing. Love is saying no."
  • "When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more."
  • "There are two kinds of love -- Our love, and God's love. But God makes both kinds of them."
  • "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
  • "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
  • "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
  • "My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
  • "Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken."
  • "Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
  • "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
  • "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
  • "I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her."
  • "Love cards like Valentine's cards say stuff on them that we'd like to say ourselves, but we wouldn't be caught dead saying."
  • "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
  • "Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
  • "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
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