December 22: Colossians 3:12-17

Many of us have an outfit we can readily bring to mind that is permanently tied to a specific memory. Growing up, my great-grandmother bought my siblings and me a Christmas outfit every year, usually in some variation of red plaid. It was never an exciting day for me when we had to put them on and go to Sears to have our pictures made. For most of my life, I associated that annual event with the start of Christmas.

Despite my memories of my own clothes, I can't tell you what my parents wore on any given Christmas. I can, however, tell you that every year. they both worked hard to be givers. They delivered baked goods, did errands, provided help to people in big or little ways. Their holiday finest wasn't a sweater or a dress—it was love.

"Above all, clothe yourself with love." Imagine for a moment if instead of your clothes, people saw your heart when they looked at you. Would you be proud of what they saw? When you speak to people, are you speaking kindness? When you're waiting on someone, are you showing patience, or just pretending? This Christmas season, the best gift we can offer anyone on our list, anyone in our church family or community, is the gift of love. Love that presents itself as kindness, as compassion, as gentleness. Love that practices being patient, even when it's hard. Love that forgives and let's go of the petty problems of the year.

This Christmas, as we go about our busy schedules, let us be conscious "as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved" to wear the love Christ has for us on our sleeves, as a gift to the weary world; let our love be a step towards living in "perfect harmony" amongst each other.

Linsey Mastin