Monday, December 22
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (NAS)
As Deanna neared the end of her pregnancy of our second child (in those days, it was uncommon to find out the gender of your child in advance), I became apprehensive. Our son, Bill, was approaching his third birthday. I was so attached to him, so proud to be his father! I wondered, at times even doubted, if it would be possible to love our second child as much as I loved Bill.
When Beth was born a few weeks later, my confusion cleared when I held her in my arms for the first time. I felt such love for her! It was different, but no less intense. In time, I began to appreciate her individuality. As I fed, changed, dressed and rocked her, my awareness of how I uniquely loved her grew. My children were different, but my love for them was not divided, but multiplied.
Four years ago I was blessed to welcome Isla into the world. All the stories I had heard about the joy of being a grandparent became a personal experience. Being a grandparent offers yet another way to love uniquely. Cami’s arrival this year further multiplied that love.
One of the mysteries of love is that it is never divided, but always multiplied. Our love for one person does not diminish our capacity to love others; it enhances it! But love is not “one size fits all.” In order to be genuine, we must love the other for who he/she is. It requires that we make an effort to know and appreciate an individual’s uniqueness. It is easier to love people who share our culture, opinions, and values, but as we expand our ability to love others, we likewise enhance our ability to receive love.
My New Testament professor in seminary stated that a better translation of “only-begotten” in John 3:16 was that Jesus was “uniquely loved.” God uniquely loves each of us. Our awareness of God’s love grows as we extend our love for others.
>Lord, help to love others as much as we desire love for ourselves. May our love be enhanced by recognizing others’ uniqueness, and freeing ourselves of conditional limitations to express it.
Scott McBroom is a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice. He is married to Deanna, father of Bill & Beth, and grandfather of Isla and Cami. His interests include spirituality, worship, genealogy, and writing.