Love and Life

As we wrap up the month of December and 2011, I thought we should be reminded of what love is, and to carry that love into 2012.

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” Charles Dickens

“I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.” Roy Croft

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” James Baldwin

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa

“Do all things with love.” Og Mandino

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” Franklin P. Jones

“To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever.” Henry Drummond

“Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.” Euripides

“The best proof of love is trust.” Dr. Joyce Brothers

“The first duty of love – is to listen.” Paul Tillich

“Don’t forget to love yourself.” Soren Kierkegaard

“Those who look for reasons to hate miss opportunities to love.” Carmen Sylva

“Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” Leo Buscaglia

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Mother Teresa

“Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“We are all born for love…it is the principle of existence and its only end.” Benjamin Disraeli

What will you do to show love in 2012?

2011 in Words: Love

This month we’ve talked about a bunch of different things.  Throughout it all we’ve talked about a topic that’s usually popular in February, love.  As we wrap up 2011 I want to encourage you to live with love in your life.  We’ve seen from previous generations what a lack of love can do: think of the Sudan & Rwandan genocides, Hitler’s Reich and countless civil wars.  I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to be done with that.  So here are 12 ways you can love in 2012.

1 smile: it’s the universal language of love

2 listen: sometimes it’s not your words but your ears that show you love someone

3 be there: when was the last time you actually met a friend for coffee or a drink?

4 think before you speak: your words do have power when they’re said, say something loving

5 share love socially: your Facebook, Twitter and blog posts are a fantastic way to spread love

6 share your lunch: if you still work in an office or with others, bring in treats every once in a while

7 drive slower: if we all rushed less there’d be more time for love

8 take action: instead of letting people die in wars or digging up the earth for dangerous oil, step up and say something

9 support do-gooders: there are lots of non profits making a difference in people’s lives who need your support

10 spend time with those you love: if you’re with people you like, you’ll have less time to hate

11 do things you enjoy: yes this includes working a job you love and going places you love with those you love

12 get a pet: seriously though, it lowers your stress and makes you more likely to love than stress and hate

What are you going to do in 2012 to show love?

Celebrating Christmas: Eternal

This month we’ve been talking about what love is and how love is in our lives.  Today we take our last look at Christmas for 2011.  If you’re just joining us, we’ve been talking about l.o.v.e. this year, week 1 we talked about love, week 2 we talked about love’s opportunity, and last week we talked about love’s victory.  This week we’re talking about love eternal.

It’s awful hard to get over love, just ask any heartbroken teen!  Love was designed by God to unite us in ways that we never thought possible.  It’s either the best thing ever or the worst thing to ever happen.  All joking aside, why talk about love at Christmas?

Because Christmas for many religious folk signals the birth of the best gift ever: baby Jesus.  His birth not only answered the beliefs of previous generations, and renewed the faith of countless people, it also instilled hope that there’s something better yet to come.  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

You see, love by it’s very definition, means to do something out of affection or liking; for pleasure, not for personal gain.  This is exactly what Jesus did.  He came to earth as a baby, several decades later was crucified on a cross, and days later rose again.  His birth shows us that he loved us enough to come to earth, but his resurrection showed that it is more than just a little, he loves us with an eternal love.

Regardless of what you believe, we can all learn from the message of the story: love is a gift that lasts.  I hope this Christmas, and in 2012, you’ll give love to all you meet, it will be the best gift you ever give.

But maybe you’ve been running from that love, struggling with that love, or want more of that love in your life.  If you do, I’d love to help you make 2012 the year that you find love.  I’ve got a personal coaching spot with your name on it.

Who will you choose to love today?

A Christmas Prayer for Hope

Every year at Christmas
All I can see
Are pictures of the things I want
Around the tree
But this year’s a little different
I’m not thinking of myself
So my prayer for this Christmas
Is for somebody else

So I pray…
Joy To the World
Peace for every boy and girl
Hope when life is hard
Light when everything seems dark

God I know you’re listening
And you can hear
The need of every broken heart
And all their tears
I don’t have a lot to offer
Just this one simple prayer
That this Christmas everyone would know
Somebody cares…

So I pray…
Joy To the World
Peace for every boy and girl
Hope when life is hard
Light when everything seems dark

I pray that every hungry soul
Will be filled and will be warm
That not a single, solitary child
Would suffer harm

And wars would find their ending
As we take another view
My hope is that this Christmas prayer
Would somehow come true

I pray…
Humanity would rise
And join with me

From Nick Jonas Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer).  You can hear it on Youtube here.

I knew Nick and his family growing up, so every Christmas I love listening to this song because it brings me back to my childhood.  But the message of this song is one that goes back farther than that. Christmas is about spreading joy around the world.  The holidays are a time of celebration, a time of remembrance and a time of love.  It’s the time that we all do what we can to make the world a better place, to unite and share what we’ve been blessed with throughout the year with those in need.

So the question is, why can’t we do this all year long?  Why do we wait until the last 3 weeks of the year to do something nice for someone else?

This year I’m going to try and do my part to spread joy and peace all year long.  What can you do today to spread the message of hope and love at Christmas?

Spreading Christmas Compassion

Call on your angels
Come down to the city
Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers who know me
Bring your compassion
Your understanding
Lord, how we need it
On this New York City Christmas

Yeah I’m sending you a merry New York Christmas
and a prayer for peace on earth within our time
Hear the sidewalk angels echo hallelujah
We understand them, now more than ever

So call on your angels
You’re beaten and broken
It’s time that we mended
So they don’t fade with the season
Let our mercy be the gifts we lay
From Brooklyn and to Broadway
Celebrate each and every day
of this New York City Christmas

From: Rob Thomas’s A New York City Christmas. Check it out on Youtube here.

There’s something special about NYC, I can’t deny it.  I live really close to it, and can’t say I really like it, but it’s different than anywhere else I’ve been.  NYC is a really big city with it’s share of problems, as well as opportunities to work together.  After 9/11 everyone in the US saw what happens when a city works together and supports each other.

The holidays, more than any other time of year, are about getting together and supporting each other.   Life is short, we only live 80 or so years each, some more and some less.  But each and every day is an opportunity to work together and do what we can to mend our relationships and live whole lives.  If we all come together we can spread the spirit of the season and do some good for others.

So this holiday season, whether you’re gathered around a table or still out shopping, show your fellow man some compassion and remember that we’re all in this together.

Celebrating Christmas: Victory

Christmas is less than a week away! I say that not to scare you into running from here and off to do shopping, but to express my joy in the nearness of the celebration of Jesus’ birth!  This month we’ve been talking about Christmas l.o.v.e.  The first week we talked about love, the second about opportunity, and today we’re talking about victory.

The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.

Isaiah 9:2

One of my favorite books in the bible is Isaiah, and each Christmas I take time to read Isaiah 9 and am reminded of what a special gift Jesus really is.  He had been predicted for many years before his birth, and when he finally arrived he was kind of a disappointment to people because he didn’t come and conquer the world as people thought he would.

The first coming of Jesus was about creating victories in minds and hearts, not over the world.

I think the greatest encouragement from this wonderful celebration is that it gave the people hope. It told them that God hadn’t forgotten them, but had heard their prayers.

We should be encouraged by knowing that not only has the Great Light been to earth, but He’s coming back.  So this Christmas, while you may be disappointed by your situation or by the state of the world, be encouraged that God does hear your prayers and will answer them.

How can you spread light and hope this holiday season?

Love Says

This month we’re talking about love.  Love being a complex subject with lots of challenges, it’s easy to get confused or discouraged by the challenges, so here are some encouraging words to brighten your day.

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!””  2 Corinthians 1:20a

“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.  In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13

“”Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6

What inspires and encourages you to love?  I’d love to hear your favorite verses.