We’re Here to Love… Because He Loved Us First
Mary Thornton

Bill and I love Christmas music. We have dozens of Christmas CDs (Yes, actual disks, because we’re old!)  We’ve participated in Christmas plays through local theater and church cantatas as instrumentalists and singers. I’ve directed children’s Christmas pageants and musicals at multiple churches over the years, and we’ve both been honored to provide special music through solos and duets to accompany the season.

We’ve been exposed to a great deal of quality Christmas music.

Of our entire library of music, instrumental and vocal, classics and contemporary, it’s an album released in 1986 that starts our season every year: “Christmas with Ronnie Milsap.” While this is a beautiful album, it’s probably not the best Christmas collection of all time, and the song that resonates with me most throughout the season isn’t even technically a Christmas song.

Ronnie Milsap sings, “We're Here to Love ... / It’s the love that you give in the hours you live / That’s the measure of the life that you lead.”

We’ve been married for over 30 years now, and, as I said, we’re old. We were biological, foster, and adoptive parents, and we’ve learned so many techniques, skills, and insights for successful relationships, therapeutic parenting, and happy, productive families that it can be difficult to keep them all distinct.

We can say with authority that no approach works, not alone. In our experience, the underlying requirement for success was always … and I do mean always … love. Uncovering the need behind poor choices, looking for the precious value of the other human, and embracing it. Every time we left that out, no matter what technique we used, we failed. Every. Single. Time.

This song reminds me to focus on what matters most about the Christmas story. It’s not a pregnant virgin, a baby in a manger, the Wisemen, or the star in the sky. It’s the love. The love so overwhelming that we can’t fully grasp it. The song reminds me that I am not just the recipient of that love. I am God’s love for others. I am here to love.

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.

1 John 4:7-10