Christmas movies make us laugh and cry. Even though most of the movies have absolutely nothing to do with the real purpose of Christmas—the celebration of our Savior coming into the world—we feel a little bit better watching life in the “happy” bubble. In just a couple of hours, two lost and lonely people find hope and that “forever after” sensation. A great percentage of Christmas movies are about one thing: falling in love. The problem is that these movies have nothing to do with real love. Christmas movies present love as an emotional high that brings people together and then to the altar. Happily-ever-after is the message at the end of each movie. Eventually, reality interferes with fantasy. If you can fall in love, you can most certainly fall out of love.
Christmas movies present emotional and sexual types of love. These loves are temporary in nature, which means, they have no chance of building long-term relationships. Hence, Christmas movies are followed by a year of movies and never-ending documentaries detailing the various and sundry ways that couples destroy and kill one another. These films are, strangely, quite popular.
A spouse is intended to be unique in the world. He/She is intended to be a best friend, one that is second to none. This person is the friend that “sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Though you can get angry at a brother or sister, you cannot un-brother or un-sister that person. It is a lifetime relationship. The marriage relationship is or should be, well, must be closer than that of a sibling. It, too, is a lifetime relationship. It is the one to which you commit your whole life. You might have “fallen in love” (hair standing up on your neck; your breath is taken away; you’ve never seen anyone as gorgeous as she; he is so wonderful), but you must choose to stay in love. If individuals stumble and fall from time to time, what makes us think that a married couple will fare better? Sometimes two people fall harder than one.
So, what is the key to a long-term, life-long relationship? Get beyond your feelings of love and your sexual attraction, both of which are selfishly-based. Latch onto a love that is not governed by emotion and physical attraction, a love that has nothing to do with your feelings, and a love that forgives a “multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Choose the love that chose you, that is, God’s love! A love that is devoid of emotion; a love that is unwavering no matter the threat that it must overcome. A love that does not want to harm, but rather to uplift. Can you imagine a God who promises to keep and sustain you throughout your lifetime, yet, in an emotional moment, decides that you are not worth holding onto? “I know I promised you the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but you aren’t as faithful as you should be by now; you’re on your own!” If this were the case, you would, rightfully, live in fear for that day when your sin will cast you outside of God’s grace. Thankfully, God’s love is not based on emotion or how handsome or beautiful you are, but on His commitment to a promise.
“I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you,” so that we confidently say “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me” (Hebrews 13:5b-6)?
The Scripture calls this “agape” love. It is unconditional by nature so that it does not waver; it focuses on forgiveness, not resentment or revenge. It overcomes harmful feelings while looking for lasting solutions. Agape love overcomes the desires of the flesh to pursue the fruits of an indwelling Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 19-25). It reflects the heart and commitment of God rather than vindictiveness or the “heat of the moment.” Agape love is “forever after” the vows have been made and life settles into the day to day up and down realities of life. It is love in the crisis or during the threat. It is what commits us to the study of God’s eternal Word, which, when learned, gives the Holy Spirit greater and greater influence and effect in our lives. Don’t just fall in love, be in love!