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Praying for you to experience the fullness of God’s unfailing love for you this Christmas season, just as much in the hard times as in the happy moments.
My grandmother passed away on Friday. She was a Christian, so we know that she is in the presence of God now, but it sure left behind a whole in our lives down here. We miss her so much.
This was not the topic I expected to be writing about in a post boasting God’s love in the Christmas season, but it might just be the most powerful way of all to express it. Her life was such a strong expression of His love.
Love is Patient, Love is Kind
My grandmother lived an incredible life full of love, generosity, service, and kindness. She was one of the most supportive wives I’ve ever seen to my grandfather. They sweetly doted on each other every single day, ’til death did they part. She adored her kids and supported them in every way she could and she embraced every grandchild and great grandchild with the same warmth and affection.
It Is Not Proud. It Does Not Envy or Boast.
Have you heard the phrase, “Throw kindness around like confetti”? My grandmother did that every single day of her life. Even when dementia came into the picture, she responded to every person in her life, from friend to waiter to caregiver, with respect, gratitude, and a smile. She looked straight through society’s unspoken ranking system and instead saw people with hopes, dreams, and stories.
It is Not Self-Seeking or Easily Angered & It Keeps No Record of Wrongs
A few years ago, I was in a care conference meeting with the facility she was living in and the director asked her if there was anything more they could be doing to make her more comfortable. Her response was, “Oh no! You all work so hard. You’re certainly never sitting around drinking mint juleps!”
That conversation comes to mind often. The way she treated others spoke volumes more about the love of Christ than words could ever have expressed.
It Does Not Delight In Evil, But Rejoices With Truth
I believe one of the most powerful needs we have in this life is to be seen, known, and loved.
I was kind of the black sheep in our family growing up (or at least I felt like I was). At family gatherings, it just felt like I never really fit anywhere, even though I desperately wanted to. Grandma was always a safe place. When other family members would shift their focus to someone else after the mandatory, “How are you? How’s school?”, my grandmother would invite me into the kitchen and ask about my friends, my hobbies, and my future plans.
I was awkward and insecure, but she looked past those things and saw me when others didn’t.
It Always Protects, Trusts, Hopes, & Perseveres
My grandfather was the strong, outspoken decision-maker of the family, but my grandmother was the glue that held the family together. When he ruffled feathers, she smoothed them down. She left room for people to make mistakes, which is one of the most powerful ways of all to speak the unconditional love of Christ, who sacrificed Himself for us while we were still sinners.
Of course, she was not perfect, but she saw and brought out the very best in people. People were drawn to her. She was one of those hostesses that welcomes you into her home and makes you feel comfortable and cared for. And, let me tell you, she welcomed a lot of people into her home during her life!
Love Never Fails
The love of Christ means that life does not end with death. The love of Christ means that life starts at death. This incredible life that she lived while she was here, it was only the beginning. A love that takes the sting out of death and conquers the grave – that is the kind of love I am celebrating this Christmas season.
A love that wipes away our tears and walks with us through the hard and imperfect days, and also rejoices with us on the wonderful, warm, and happy days.
A love that is unfailing, everlasting, and bigger than I could ever grasp. A love that is not dependent on my perfection, my performance, or my ability. This love transcends everything human and opens the door to everything divine.
My hope and prayer for you is that wherever you are and whatever you are going through this Christmas season, you are able to more fully realize His deep for you.
Written in memory of my beloved grandmother, Joan Looper, who is already greatly missed.